Monday, April 30, 2012

All The Things I Never Say and A Little Work

It's another Monday!

Manic Mommy Monday!
Who am I exactly?  You know when you are trying to find out who you are growing up and you are different in certain circles of your life?  Well, I never liked being multiple people...  I mean, sure!  I suffer from the occasional split personality but for the most part I try to be the same all day long.  If you asked people that know me in "real life" I would hope they would tell you the same about me.  Yes, I do "curb" certain ways of speaking when around certain groups of people but for the most part I am very much like Popeye, "I am what I am!"  With that said, I will tell you who I am...  Or in some cases WHAT I am...
I am an ogre.  Yes, it is true.  I have always said it and once I saw Shrek, it was even more confirmed!  I am taller and larger than most of the women in my family.  I have said that I come from a long line of bird people... I like things a little gross and a little scary, like Halloween.  Don't get me wrong, I really don't like to be dirty and I hate being scared, I just like the creepiness of it all!  I have a ridiculous sense of smell and I can't handle it if I'm the one that smells.  I don't think I'm crazy-super-smart but I know what I know, and I know that I like puzzles and riddles and things that I can figure out.  I like looking at a problem and seeing in my minds eye how it gets figured right.  I read used to read anything and everything someone put in front of me, I credit that for my good spelling, but in all honesty, I've always been good at spelling.  I have a potty mouth and a dirty sense of humor and I blame it all on my Grandfathers!  (evil grin)  And if they were here today they would happily take credit.  I am ghetto and I am nerdy and I like to wear pigtails in my hair.
And I have one biological sibling that I have grown up with for 30+ years and that it my younger brother.
And I have always wanted a sister.
Now please don't misunderstand!  I love my brother.  I adore my brother!  It's not that I don't want a brother, not at all!  I just always wanted a little sister.  Too...  And when my brother got married, BAM!  There was the open door to a little sister!  And when I got married, WHAM-BAM!  Another sister (well, she's only six months younger, but STILL!) and what did I do with all that?  Pretty much nothing.  Sure, I got along with my SIL's but I never really put in any work with the relationships.  Urgh!  Work, that's just too much, well...  WORK!
And then my brother left for basic training with the Army and I no longer had him right there, right where I needed him.  I never had to work with him!  I mean, sure!  We worked together!  But there was never any work involved with having a brother.  He was there for me, I was there for him, that's all, right?  Nope.  I am the big sister and I started looking at the fact that maybe I wasn't there for him as much as he has been for me.  I started looking at the fact that I don't really have many "girl" friends and I know it's because I just don't want to work at it.  I can own that.  But maybe, if I'm given the chance at a sister, maybe I really could work at it?  Maybe it's not so bad?
I had coffee with my SIL over the weekend.  It was nice.  It was fun!  We talked about our daily struggles, both of us talked, I tried really hard not to talk to much, I worked at it!  We talked about our losses in life.  We talked about all the fun and exciting things that we have to look forward to.  It was only an hour but it was long overdue.  And I should have worked at that sooner.  I should have been a better big sister.
So, to those of you that are still with me, here are the things I don't say enough, or maybe never say...
I like you.
I love you.
I need you.
I miss you.
I'm here for you.
I'm sorry.

Thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to let me work at being a better me.
Now, I am off to real work!  And later I will be working on Birthday presents for my niece and nephew that my SIL's are working to raise!

Monday, April 23, 2012

My Husband Is A Cheater!

Manic Mommy Monday!
Yup, you heard it right!  My husband is a cheater!!!  When it comes to chores...
Yeah, I know, it could be worse.  I'm just getting burnt out on it though.
How does he cheat?  Well, let's look at our life today...
Hubby is currently the stay-at-home parent and I am the working parent.  The problem in all of this is, I actually still take our baby with me to work because I am breastfeeding, and because I can, and because that is the plan once hubby gets a job, that I start taking both girls to work with me.  I'm okay with that.  I like that I can go to work and bring my kids.  What I'm having a hard time with is that I am not a super-human!  I can't go to work and take care of both my customers and kids, then come home to fix dinner, give baths, do laundry, do the dishes, clean all the rooms of the house, take care of the cats.  It's not what I signed up for.  Yes, I know I'm whining again!  But isn't the whole point of being married having someone else to share the load?  My problem is the amount of help I get, or should I say "don't" get!
It all started out fine!  He used to take care of the house while I was at work and I would take care of dinners and we shared a lot of the chores.  We would laugh and make fun of our friends that would have "turns" at taking care of their kids!  "Could you imagine," I would say "Me telling you that Wednesday was your night to take care of our kids and that I was 'off'?"  Yeah, the joke isn't so funny anymore!  Sure, he will say that he's going to do the dishes...  What that means is he will wash the ones in the sink (with the lights off!) and then let them air dry on the counter but won't put them away.  We have a dishwasher, but it's a cheap one we bought that never worked quite right and now doesn't wash the dishes hardly at all!  So I told him that I didn't want him doing the dishes anymore because they taste like soap and are never cleaned all the way and don't get dried fast enough to not leave spots and never get put away.
Then there's the laundry...  He refuses to separate any of it.  Bibs, towels, darks, lights, they all go in one load!  After two or three outfits got ruined from the velcro on our kids bibs he finally attempted to separate, but there's always a bib that sneaks in the load.  That wouldn't be so bad except that he also doesn't fold the laundry and won't put it away when I fold it.  I'm the kind of person that likes doing laundry only when I can wash, dry and fold right away.  He also doesn't clean out the lint filter which I have explained can cause serious problems.  So I told him I don't want him doing the laundry...
He only makes food that comes from a box or the freezer, so I don't like for him to make dinner often.
He has gotten into a bad habit with the litter box...  I'm not taking that one on boys and girls!  I told him when he wanted to get pets that I do NOT do animal poop!  We had cats growing up and the box was always my chore, I'm a grown up now and I don't wanna do it!!!
He will wipe down the bathroom but always seems to miss the mirrors, and the toilets...
He does vacuum...  He tries to clean up the living room but instead of putting things where they go he just moves them to another room of the house that also needs to be cleaned.
So, other than changing a diaper or two and helping with bath time, I'm just simply getting burnt out.
The straw breaking the camels back is the complaining!  I just can't take it anymore...  He complains when I cook dinner and use more than one pot and one spoon...  Complains that I do two small loads of laundry and not one large load...  Complains that he does so much and the house is never clean...  All of it said as if he is the only person cleaning while the rest of us dirty up the house.
He couldn't handle our two-year-old today.  After having a nice day yesterday of playing in the pool at my dads, we were all exhausted!  Big sister slept till almost 10 this morning!  Baby sister went to bed around 11 and only woke up once at five am for a feeding!  That's a decent amount of sleep...  Except I'm still the first one up in the morning...
How do you deal with your husbands and chores?  Am I fighting the ultimate worthless battle?

Happy Monday ya'll!!!

Don't forget to check in with the other Manic Mommies this Monday!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Food For Thought Friday, A 2-fer!!!

So, I was torn this week...  Quick Apple Crisp (my favorite pot-luck desert) or Tabasco Meatloaf?
Why not both???
I really hated meatloaf growing up.  I don't know why but I used to think of it as "leftover" food.  Probably because we would have it when there was nothing else to eat!  I'm not going to give you the full recipe because to be honest, I am really bad at following certain recipes!  Basically, you can take a general recipe for meatloaf:
ground beef (1.5-2 pounds)
eggs, 2
bread, (I use 2-3 large slices of wheat)
milk (about 3/4 c)
I just throw it all in a bowl and add some tabasco (I prefer the chipotle kind) and the other night I added some steak seasoning.
Just so you know, I do NOT eat spicy food.  I don't even like medium salsa!  And when I add the tabasco, I'm throwing in a couple tablespoons!  It isn't even spicy-hot!  It just gives it a bit more flavor.
Of course everyone has a little different taste...  What I recommend, if you have the stuff to do it, is to make up your batch and seperate it.  If you have mini-loaf pans (I use the Pampered Chef mini-loaf stoneware) you can mix in different amounts of spices and cook them seperately!  Since my hubby loves all things spicy I can never add too much for him!
Now for the yummy desert part!!!  I was once a Pampered Chef consultant (hence all the stoneware references) and one of my favorite recipes to make at shows was the Quick Apple Crisp.  It is easy to make and doesn't cost a lot to make a bunch!
5 Granny Smith apples
1 package (9 ounces) yellow cake mix
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
   1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/2 cup chopped nuts
Vanilla ice cream or thawed, frozen whipped topping (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Peel, core and slice apples using Apple Peeler/Corer/Slicer. Cut apples in half using Utility Knife. Place apples in Deep Dish Baker.
  2. Combine cake mix, sugar, cinnamon, butter and nuts in Classic Batter Bowl. Mix until crumbly using Classic Scraper. Sprinkle mixture evenly over apples.
  3. Bake 35-40 minutes or until apples are tender. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped topping, if desired.
Yield: 10 servings
Nutrients per serving: Calories 240, Total Fat 12 g, Saturated Fat 3.5 g, Cholesterol 15 mg, Carbohydrate 33 g, Protein 2 g, Sodium 210 mg, Fiber 2 g

Do you have questions about Pampered Chef products?  Need to order something?  Feel free to email me!  My brother is a consultant or you can visit here and find a consultant near you!  You can also look for more free recipes at and click on the recipe tab!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Food For Thought Friday

So I'm really trying to work on posting more regularly and I just need to come up with more ideas...
After reading another bloggers ideas for posting I am going to try my hat at posting one new recipe a week.  I do plan on hitting up my relatives for some of their favorites...  HINT, HINT if you are reading this and are related to me!!!
My very first recipe to post is one of my favorites!
First of all, I used a variation of this recipe to make some refried beans...  You see, I have a ton of beans right now and I decided to finally use some.  I only altered the recipe just a little.  I didn't add the jalapeno, mostly because I just don't like spicy food.  I also only added half the salt.  Next time I don't think I would add any.  I had so much beans left over I ended up freezing some for later.  Hint for the freezing:  I put the beans in a container and added some of the extra liquid on top, it defrosted in the microwave wonderfully!
So, now onto my real recipe to share...
My mom has been making this since I was a little kid.  We don't really have a "name" for it, we just call it Chicken Tortilla Casserole.  I even looked it up once and found a variation of what my mom used to make so I came up with my own variation.  I like doing that...
I have to admit, I'm sorry that I don't do better measurements, so what I'm giving you is as close as I can to what I make...
I usually cook mine is a 9x13" Pampered Chef stoneware, but I'm sure glass will work!
1 small package of corn tortillas
2 cans of refried beans (or if you use the recipe I used, it looked like about 3-4 cups)
Shredded, cooked chicken (I use 2-3 boneless skinless breasts.  My mom cooks hers in the oven, I cook mine in the slow cooker with a little water and some seasonings)
1 can green chili's
1 can black olives (sliced or diced)
Shredded cheese, I've used Mexican blend or cheddar
1-2 cans cream of "something" soup (the last time I made this I was going to make my own cream of vegetable soup but I ran out of time, maybe next time!)
Cooking temperatures vary, I've cooked it on 350 degrees for about an hour.  Since the chicken is cooked your're really just looking to get the whole thing nice and hot and melty-cheesy!
Start by layering the corn tortillas on the bottom of the casserole dish.  I usually break the tortillas in half.  Put down a layer of beans, about half of what you have.  Next a layer of the cooked chicken, again half of what you have.  Same with the green chili's and olives (you can save a little bit of olives for topping) then a layer of cheesy goodness!
Repeat the layers as above.
To finish, add a final layer of tortilla's.  This is where mom and I differ in our preparation.  Mom adds the juices from her cooked chicken on top of the layer of tortillas.  I take one can of soup and add a can-full of the "stock" I made in the slow cooker, mix it well and pour on top of the tortilla layer.  I finish off with more shredded cheese and the rest of the olives and throw that bad-girl in the oven.
I don't know the calorie content or specific serving sizes.  To be honest, whether there are four of us (which is normal) or a dozen of us (like on Easter) there are rarely ever any left-overs.
I'd love to have included a photo, mostly because the last one I made was very good looking, but not only are there never left-overs, it gets eaten up pretty quickly just out of the oven!

Do you have a favorite recipe?  Want to pass it "down"?  Send me an email at stuffnjunk(at)ymail(dot)com and maybe I will either do a feature post or I will set up a linky blog hop!
I'm thinking of emailing my Aunt Ann to ask for her slow-cooker beef stroganoff recipe, maybe I'll get a chance to take a picture before my family devours it!
Happy cooking!!!

Monday, April 9, 2012

I never wanted to be a stay-at-home-mom

Welcome to Manic Mommy Monday! Every week we link up blog posts that are updates about us and what is going on in our lives. Everyone is welcome to link up (scroll down to find the linky) and you can find more information on the main Manic Mommy Monday page.

Manic Mommy Monday!

I really never wanted to be a stay at home mom (I learned in blogger talk that's SAHM).  I always thought I would have kids, I just new I'd still work.  When I was pregnant with my first daughter I would joke that if I had her on a Friday I would be back to work on the following Monday.  Funny thing is, that's exactly what happened!  I was induced on a Wednesday, gave birth on a rainy Friday afternoon and was answering phones for work the next Monday.
I have to admit, I do work for my dad and can work from home some days during the week, more so when we're not busy and I work in an office that is comprised of only me.  That was a major factor in working for him!  I can take care of my kids while I work.  It wasn't until my daughter was four months old and I took on a second job that I started wishing I was a SAHM.  How nice it would be to just be at home with my girl!  Instead I was working two jobs!  No wonder I wasn't successful at breastfeeding...  I never even gave myself a real chance.  We were "lucky" that one of us could be home though.  My husband had lost his job a few months before we got pregnant.  When he lost his job we had discussed not trying for a baby.  We had lost two pregnancies the year before though and since we were both in our mid-to-late thirties we figured it was still worth it to keep trying.
Of course, I still got resentful that he was the one that got to stay home while I worked two jobs.  I mean, I didn't really want to be the SAH but if one of us was going to be at home, shouldn't it be me?  (Yes that is a whiny voice you are hearing!)
With my second pregnancy I was "supposed" to get more maternity leave.  I got the four days I was in the hospital off (I had a scheduled C-section because they thought baby #2 was going to be 11 pounds!) and then a couple days into the following week.  Then I was back to answering phones.
I think I'm just now starting to get a bit more frustrated.  Hubby is still out of work and now we have two kids and only one income.  I did focus more on breastfeeding this time around which has been great for baby but also am dealing with tons of nasty guilt (about having such a hard time the first go-round and feeling like I gave up) and postpartum issues and I feel more overwhelmed than ever!
I have never thought that a SAHM's job would be easy, I just always believed I could do both.
Lately though, I just wish I at least had the option.

Okay, I'm done venting...  Thanks for the listen!  I'll try to be more sugary-sweet next time!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Manic Mommy Monday, POOP in the tub!

Manic Mommy Monday!

First of all, I LOVE my two-year-old!  "Terrible" tantrums aside, I've always had good luck dealing with two-year-olds when I remember to keep my own temper in check.  It's not always easy but I'd like to think that I learned this from years and YEARS of babysitting.
I started babysitting around 12 or 13 (diaper duty started just around 11 or 12) and when I was 15 I was an after school "nanny" of two elementary aged kids.  By my late teens-early twenties I regularly watched multiples, 2-3 kids at a time and at 25 I went on a mini-week long field trip with a younger cousin and was put in charge of six or seven teenage girls!  Mostly the "kids" I've watched have always gone along with whatever I've told them.  I'm pretty flexible and easy going as long as they follow my "basic" rules like play nice, share, no swearing, no hitting, whatever...  That all worked until I had a little red-headed cousin tell me "YOU'RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME!"  It was then that I learned to discipline "softly".  There would be no "Because I said so" with that child.  No loud talking would be listened to.  I learned about getting down to their level and speaking softly.  I learned that they are not deliberately being defiant, well not always, but they are trying to be heard, to be understood!  When two of my nephews turned two (they are six months apart) I used this approach dutifully and it always worked!  I stopped what I was doing, knelt/sat/whatever down and spoke very softly to them.  I didn't speak condescendingly or reproachfully, but just a soft tone to find out what it was that I wasn't hearing, what I wasn't understanding.  And when things can't be calmed down in this way I revert to my good-old "Let's do something else" tactic!
So, my oldest daughter just turned two and we have been experiencing those all-too-talked-about tantrums and fits.  Some of them are actually kind of funny but mostly we just try to calm her down or we take a little time out in her room.  Many of these breakdowns happen with regards to the bathroom...  My kid loves baths.  No, I mean she really loves baths!  She loves to wash her hands in the sink, loves to spend ridiculous amounts of times in the bathtub, loves soap, bubbles and shampoo and mostly doesn't even mind the hair washing.  The problem is the potty.  We have finally gotten to a point where she will actually sit on the potty chair without freaking out.  She's gone #1 a couple times and managed a little #2 once.  The first time she pooped in the bath, I just chalked it up to first-time parenting.  It really does have to happen to us at least once in our lives, right?  The second time it happened we decided we were going to put her on the potty chair before every bath.  She has gotten better just being on the chair and on days she gets really antsy we just distract her with a book or singing a song or counting.  She still isn't making much progress with regards to the "training" part but at least it's progress on progress, right?
Well, we have been having more accidents in the tub over the last couple weeks.  We've discussed a few things, thinking maybe it happens on days when she doesn't poop so much and to watch for certain "signs".  Well, yesterday she had plenty of "movements" during the day but hubby went ahead and put her on the chair anyway.  Still nothing.  In the bath she went!  And then she "went".  Sure, she had been in there a long time.  But she likes baths!  She's stayed in a bath for over 30 minutes once!!!  Now, I don't think Daddy watches her quite the way Mommy does.  Daddy brings in his cell phone and does whatever on it.  Mommy used to try to bring in her phone or book but it just got too distracting, how can you NOT want to listen to your kid as they play and sing!?!  When I'm interacting with her, she hasn't "gone" in the tub.  But how do I teach hubby to do that?  And does this mean I'm the only one that can give her a bath?  Cause I've got a 3-month-old that has other ideas...
Have any of you had problems with this?  Any advise to an open-minded momma?

Don't forget to check out some of the other blogs on the hop!