Monday, January 28, 2013

Menu Monday

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.
I'm a working mother of 5 who's family photo is in the dictionary next to 'OVERSCHEDULED'. This is really what we will eat this week.
All of the recipes I choose are easy, make-ahead &/or contain real food!

Maybe you'll be inspired to gather your family for a meal this week. Time at the table is precious.

Also, planning ahead keeps food costs down. Go ahead copy my menu, be inspired or cook for fun!

Sunday Brunch - Biscuits and Gravy, Quiche, Honey Bun Coffee Cake, Sausage links & Scrambled Eggs

Monday - Spaghetti Pizza Style
I used a large cookie sheet with sides. My kids like this when the "crust" is thinner.

Taco Tuesday

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Don't Sweat It!

me 7 months pregnant w twins!
There are some things we mothers come to expect about parenting like: diapers, laundry and parent teacher conferences. But as a grown woman there are just some things I never saw coming.

I hate sweating. I always have. Always will. Incidentally, I used to wear makeup when playing softball in high school. My immature mind rationalized that if I was going to go to the trouble of applying cosmetics for a game it would be ridiculous to exert myself in any way that would risk sweating it off. My coach assured me my big hits would warrant a homerun if only I would run faster. But running incited sweating. I hate sweating. So I stayed on second or third base and thought "I look good."

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Basketball Bravery

These are my little girls.
They begged and begged
and begged to play basketball at the YMCA.
So ... I signed them up. I've nothing against basketball - I'm just not that into it. Also, I'm not that mom lives vicariously through her kids' activities. I'd hate to be mistaken for one while sitting on the bleachers.
No, I kinda drag my feet to sign my kids up. I think kids need more down time and free play. And I think I need a break. Maybe it's 'cause I have five kids. Maybe it's because my 15 passenger van that I sacrificially drive my five kids around in is a gas hog. Maybe I like to sleep in on Saturdays.
Either way. These twins wore me down and I signed them up for basketball.
So here I sit.
Look at them. Could they look any more nervous?
I had to practically drag them to the Y.
They balked and complained and even accused me of signing them up when they (and I quote) "didn't even really want to play that bad!"
Oh you are so going.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Did You See THAT?!

I couldn't believe this video.
I had to rewind and watch it
I was sure it was a joke.

Go ahead and watch it. I'll wait.

I am appalled that I missed something obvious right in front of me.


Monday, January 21, 2013

Homemade Spaghetti sauce w Meatballs


1 pound ground turkey
1 cup bread crumbs
1 T dried parsley
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/8 t garlic powder
1 egg, beaten

Menu Monday

After coming off a very hectic week with ball games & swim practices & evenings at work I sat down with a sense of pleasure and I look forward to this week. I get flustered when my schedule seems to dictate my life instead of my life dictating my schedule. As I anticipate having dinner with my family this week I submit to you this week's Menu Monday; what a working mother of 5 feeds her busy family!

Sunday - Chili
It's cold out. I love chili. I love leftover chili. This will be my lunch all week long. Yeah!

Monday-Crockpot BBQ Shredded Chicken with French Fries

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Celebrating Sick Days

"Well, it is going around,” replies my boss when I call to tell her I won't be at work today because I’ve kept my child home from school. Apparently this week has been particularly full of reports of folks falling ill. I'm thankful I don't get any flack for taking the day off.

I hang up the phone, pass out crackers, administer acetaminophen, start the second load of laundry, pour my third cup of coffee and then, when no one is looking, do a happy dance.

I'm staying home!

Not that I would ever want my kids to be sick. Please don't think I'm implying I wish them a poor fortune. No, I'm embarrassingly and selfishly admitting that I am making this sick day about me. Sure it's the number on the thermometer that forces my hand and makes me keep my child home, but it's me who could use a day in. And if the price I must pay is extra laundry, intermittent sprays of disinfectant and extra snuggles while wearing my pajamas - well it's sad to admit that this day is, in fact, a luxury for me.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Need Your Best Parenting Tips/Tricks & Secrets

Calling all you street savvy parents -

I am looking for your input for an upcoming article I'm working on for my Practical Parenting column in the Monmouth Daily Review Atlas.

 I need your best tips/tricks/secrets on how to navigate the trenches of parenthood.
The funnier the better.
The more practical the better.

Lemme give you an example:

Whenever there is a volunteer sign up sheet be sure to add your name on any spot except for the TOP line ... unless, of course you WANT to be the person to organize the event. I once inadvertently signed up to be in charge of a kindergarten Christmas pageant because I didn't know the rule of the "First Name"

Comments welcome........

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Art of Parenting

There are a gazillion books written about parenting. Everything you ever wanted to know about any child development issue has been documented including, but not limited to: discipline, eating, sleeping, pooping, crying, learning, talking, attachment and childcare. Anything you want to know about any child related issue is just one library book or Google search away.

All of this is helpful information if you are raising a text book child. If however, you like me, are raising a real child in the real world with real challenges, then all that information will perhaps make you feel like less of a mother instead of an awesome one.

And that's if you have time to read. Hardly any of the mothers I know have time to sit down with a book on how to be a better parent because they are too busy actually being a parent.

Just saying.

I read parenting books when I was expecting my first child. I remember how some of them made me feel less than adequate while others turned me into a maniac obsessed with scheduling every minute of every nap, meal and BM. Sure our days ran like clockwork but I was losing touch on reality.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Road Trips and Empty Nests

(This article appears as a part of my weekly Practical Parenting Series for the Daily Review Atlas, a GateHouse Media Company in Monmouth, IL)

image credit here
My teenage-driving-daughter recently took off on her first cross-state trip; interstates, toll ways and all. It was after only much convincing on her end that she was allowed to go. Also, it helped tremendously that she had her grandfather on her side.

It was toilsome agreeing to let her take the trip. My heart was nervous. My mind wrestled against itself bouncing back and forth picturing worst case scenarios and then feeling ridiculous for imagining such absurd fear.

I couldn't believe the time had come so quickly! My first little bird was crying to be let out of the nest. It had always seemed to me that the day would come when I would ceremoniously instigate her first flight and then sit back with great satisfaction as I watched her soar away. This little road trip seemed more like she was jumping out before I had a chance to even prepare her for the journey.

For days before the trip I would quiz her asking: do you know how to check tire pressure, what do you do if you get a flat, and do you know where your spare tire is kept?

"No!" she said, "No. No." I became fraught as I realized we had a lot of catching up to do in a very short time. I distinctly remember thinking, "There is so much I haven't taught you."

Friday, January 4, 2013

Benchwarmer Mother

(This article originally appeared in the Monmouth Daily Review Atlas as a part of my weekly Practical Parenting series)

Most of the human race can tell what season it is based on the calendar or even the temperature outside. In our home the seasons are dictated differently. Seasons are marked by what sports equipment can be found in the back of my husband's truck. Instead of spring, summer, autumn and winter we have baseball, soccer, football and basketball season.

I'm not kidding.

The older the kids get the more intense the teams and competition become. This is a problem for me as I am not a particularly competitive individual. To me, a game is fun if it was entertaining, thrilling and/or hard fought, not because our team was victorious. This is a problem for the rest of my family. After a game, they want to revisit every play and all I have to contribute to the conversation is how I much liked the color of the visiting team's uniform or if the popcorn at the concession stand was fresh.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

This Year I'm Writing a Book!

I started this blog in August of 2010 because when I decided I wanted to be a writer I learned a writer must have a platform.

This is my platform.
It's not wildly successful.
It's never won an award for best blog of the year
and in fact, I'm sure it never will as long as it is remains on blogspot.

O well.
It is my blog.
My baby.
My avenue and my outlet.

My Practical Parenting series (as seen in the Monmouth Daily Review Atlas) is published here as well as many of my thoughts, struggles and stories.

Now it is 2013.
My parenting series is secure.
My platform is established and now ...

I'm ready to write. A book.

To Write a Better Story blog will continue in its current form
but I'm adding a new angle;
I will document the creation of our co-authored project here.

Can I get it done in one year? Will it get published? Will anyone enjoy it?

I don't know.
Stay tuned to find out.

p.s. are there any writers out there reading this? I would love to have an online friend/supporter/community to partner up with for the duration of my project? I'd hate to go insane alone.

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