Any(?) Mom’s H*ll: Dinner

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No frills required i.e. I just don’t do 50 ingredients or over complicated these days

I enjoy eating. Sorry but that’s out there. Ever since Sweetpea marched into our life, that thing called ‘free time’ has slightly decreased — imagine that?! In an effort to “have it all” and not eat cheesy fries daily, I made the inevitable decision to give up my 1-2 hours cooking routine (particularly when George works the 12 hour night shift) and find a reasonable solution. I have a few things that limit my day: a 2-3 hr commute (door to door), I make George’s lunches every day, and I value quality time with our lovely little lady.

Drum roll……..AMAZING DISCOVERY: FROZEN CROCKPOT MEALS MADE AT NIGHT!

I am testing several recipes and will share the results but for now here are some of my finds:

1. Crock pot liners: streamline cleaning…just throw out the bag after you remove your dinner
(such as reynolds slow cooker liners but oven bags work fine as well)

2. Cook your dinner at night!
Most days I’m gone for greater than 8 hours. The crock pot we have is programmable with a manual or temperature probe dependent (Hamilton Beach® 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker $49 from Bed Bath and Beyond). The issue with long hours is after the 8 hour cook time the crock pot kicks to warm, which still cooks the food READ: dried out dinner. So I usually am home in the evening for atleast 8 hours (including sleeping) so… a) Cook at night b) refrigerate in containers during the day and c) warm up at night.

3. Make a huge thing of rice for the week or if you get sick of rice use Seeds of Change (http://www.amazon.com/Seeds-Change-Quinoa-Brown-6pack/dp/B00GRT9PZY/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1389587597&sr=8-2&keywords=Seeds+Of+Change)

4. Use microwavable veggies or steam fresh veggies in the microwave (http://www.amazon.com/Sistema-1103-Large-Microwave-Steamer/dp/B005D6XZ4O/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1389587700&sr=8-7&keywords=steam+container+microwave)

5. Have everything delivered! But I’ll write about that one another day.

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Mama Moment: Walks

Urban Walking
Urban Walking

Walks. Easy right? Walk out of the house, lock the door, go for a walk. Done. HA! Somehow adding Sweetpea brings ridiculous game changing difficulty. Getting out of the house has been one of the most daunting things to do by myself with Sweetpea (add the dog in for fun). I thought I’d share.

Step One: Make the decision and commit to getting out of the house.

Step Two-Ten: Jackets (found) and put on, dog harness put on the dog, stroller prepped, coffee in un-spill-able container (coffee made), blanket that was supposed to be in the stroller spot is missing, find blanket, realize collapsible stroller is in the most awkward position ever, phone charged (enough), headphones in hand.

That’s all before clambering down the steps. The steps for us aren’t 4 nice steps right out of our house. It’s the flight of stairs to get to the front door that’s super challenging. Carrying Sweetpea, the stroller and hoping the dog stays at the bottom of the stairs is super fun to say the least — so slow is the name of the game.

***I make it out of the house!!!***

Front doors locked — check, house alarmed — check, the sense of accomplishment is beyond high. The accomplishment level is somewhere between Olympic gold and an Oscar. In my Super-mom minute, I casually flip the stroller into position and puff out my chest. Right about then is when I realize I’d forgotten my gloves and sunglasses. Going back into the house is simply not an option. I take a minute to connect my headset to my phone, put on my Amazon mp3 player, start my “Map my Run” and step out, dog in tow.

A block later, the phone dies…

Resolutions….Pipe Dreams?….Wishes?

When you ring in the New Year in bed — as in you fell asleep while putting the baby to sleep…you know life is super exciting. The whole, I haven’t slept through the night in forever — starts taking its toll. I’m proud that I’ve been able to nurse and I still do on demand through the night (I just can’t do the “cry it out” method), the only downside is sleep deprivation. Maybe it’s a tinge of guilt for using daycare? Maybe it’s, I like feeling needed. Regardless, it leaves me zombie-ish.

So as my ‘early morning’ haze clears (thank you coffee), onto resolutions. This year I’m going to do something new. I’m not going to set some goal of losing 10 pounds or solving world peace, just one thing per role/pot to really focus on. I’m also not going to write on the top 25 things to do in 2014 (anyone else getting sick of the endless lists of things to do or not do?).

On second thought, looking at all those words I just wrote….how about a summary. So if you’re like me and don’t feel like reading all those words, my resolutions are: the video games, less Facebook, write things down, schedule stuff, workout, and be organized.

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    Pot One: Wife

Years ago, my mother mentioned how she and my father were ships passing in the night. Both of them lived together, they ate dinner with us as a family, but as a whole, the relationship was on pause while they had 6 children (myself included). We have Sweetpea, we both work, and our schedules often do not cross. In an effort to avoid a 15-20 year relationship stale-mate, my goal is to learn how to play video games so we can do something at home together where we can enjoy each others company.

    Pot Two: Mother

Be present.

    Three: Job

Some people say having a baby is slightly disruptive to your ability to think. I will say my mind must have been erased: I FORGET EVERYTHING! Resolution….actually use the fancy planner I purchased for myself…

    Four: Part time job

Plan, predict, prioritize…or schedule sh*t.

    Five: me 🙂

Run a half marathon. On second thought, this one gets two. I have a very keen ability to put things away or translation: I take stuff out and put it wherever I left it (that’s where it belongs right?) regardless of its intended home. So focus on: if I take it out…put it back.

Drowning is Not an Option

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If my life were pots, I would have probably fifty. I like to keep things busy and once upon a time, 50 pots were not overwhelming. Now I’m barely coping with about five.

Pot one: Wife
Pot two: Mother
Pot three: Full time job
four: Part time job
five: me….working out and fitness

Somewhere in the mix, my brain went on the fritz and my ability to master all these little pots went down the drain. Some days my little five leave me feeling a sense of complete and utter –drowning. That’s a good analogy: drowning. I’m determined I don’t have to drown. I don’t have to (hopefully) give up personal appearance, an appreciation for my job, joyous moments with Sweetpea, and overall health. Afterall, I’m trying to be a good example for our little bundle of joy.

Wholesome Living: Finding Balance