Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Time Out for Style

A common complaint of many mothers is the daily struggle of what to wear. Most mothers express exasperation that they dress too casually, and some say, sloppily. Many mothers do not have the time in their busy schedules to devote to finding appropriate and attractive clothing.
Help can be found with a wardrobe consultant who will review your closet, assist you in determining your clothing needs, provide shopping assistance, and organize your closet.


If you find that you stand in front of your closet full of clothes and have nothing to wear, I recommend that you find someone to watch the children for a half day and devote it to reviewing
the clothing in your closet. Put on some music of your choice and pop open a Diet Coke or have a glass of wine if you're feeling more adventuresome. You'll need to try on everything, unless by sight you find that an item is too worn, stained, or a size that you haven't seen for awhile.

Once you try on the remaining clothing ask yourself the following questions:
1. Does it fit?
2. Does the color suit me?
3. When was the last time I wore this?
4. Does this fit into my current life situation? (i.e. a stay-at-home mom doesn't need a closet full
of power suits);and,
5. Do I like it? (can I run into an old boyfriend and feel attractive?).

Items that don't meet the above criteria can be donated to a charity. Please make sure that the item is in good condition; the rule is to only donate what you would consider buying. Items with tags still attached can be sold on eBay or at a consignment shop. The balance of the items can be
tossed or recycled for your "rag bag."

Most women need the following for a casual winter wardrobe:
1. Jeans in a darker wash;
2. A pair of black pants. The current style recalling Audrey Hepburn looks good on most women
and can be dressed up or down. I recommend that you have several pairs so that when one pair is
in the wash, you have another to wear;
3. A pair of corduroy pants in a boot cut style;
4. A few sweaters in a classic style. I happen to like the J Crew Wesley cable style in the v-neck
so you can layer a blouse or t-shirt under. Plus, they are really soft and wear well;
5. A pair of short boots to wear under your jeans and pants;
6. A pair of flat shoes to wear with your black pants. Try black or an animal print for more style;
7. T-shirts in white and other colors that you like. The Old Navy ones are a terrific value;
8. A sweater coat - a Fair Isle type weave will add pop to your pants and jeans. Also, it doesn't
get that cold in Richmond, and, since we spend most of our days in cars, a heavy coat isn't needed for most days; and,
9. A "real" winter coat for colder days.

That's all you need. I find that the more choices women have, the harder it is to decide what to wear. Pare down and you'll find that you are more confident and ready to face the world!
The best part of the above list is that you can order these by catalog or on the internet. This is my favorite way to shop because I can try the clothing on at my own pace and match them to my existing pieces. No need to drag a 2 and 4 year old through the mall!
Now you need to organize your closet. Take out anything that isn't clothing related. Find a new place for Christmas paper, sport equipment, and toys. When you're doing this it's a great time to streamline your home. Make sure that you are using the same style of hanger; it takes up less rod space. I like the plastic "jewel" style hanger that you find in department stores. You should also buy a few shoe boxes and some baskets to put belts and scarves in. You can get these items at Target for a reasonable price.

Originally posted on RichmondMommies
Monday, August 29, 2011

Menu Monday Veracruz Style Fish

Fish, Veracruz Style

Ingredients:
6 tablespoons oil
1 no. 2 1/2 can tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
3 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon grated orange rind
Salt and pepper to taste
1 onion, chopped well
6 - 8 red snapper fillets
1 small can pimientos, chopped coarsely
2 tablespoons capers
One 3-oz jar green olives, pitted and chopped coarsely
Parsley, fresh, chopped as a garnish
3 boiled potatoes (optional)


Cooking Instructions:
Heat 3 tablespoons oil in heavy skillet. Combine the tomatoes with the sugar, chili powder, allspice, garlic, orange rind, salt, pepper and onion. Blend well and simmer in oil for about 10 minutes, covered. Coat baking dish with remaining oil. Put the fish in baking dish; add the pimientos, capers and olives to the tomato mixture and pour over the fish. Bake in a moderate (350 degree) oven for about 30-35 minutes or until fish flakes easily when pierced with a fork. Sprinkle with just enough fresh parsley to add a little color.




Additional Comments:
Serve the potatoes on the side or some people prefer to add cubed, hot, boiled potatoes to the fish during the last 5-7 minutes of cooking.

Submitted to The Mommies Network recipe database by a member
Friday, August 26, 2011

Super Mommy Redfined

When I say "Super Mommy" what is it that comes to mind? Do images of any combo of the following; spotless houses, pristine, genius children, 8 arms, soccer trophies, winning the bread, and a brilliant relationship come to mind? I hope not, cuz I'm writing to tell you that "Super Mommy" is the Mommy who knows herself, who gives of her true self freely to her family, she is the woman who has simply elaborated on the already spectacular chic she is, the woman who has created a family without losing herself. I am here to tell you that we can still skip along on our own individual paths to find and nurture self while bringing our mommy selves to the table. When "who we are"is the actual foundation of our life, everything sort of falls into place. I am one hell of a "Super Mommy" and I may look and do things very, very differently from another "Super Mommy."

How many times have we insisted that we "Just want to be Happy"and how many times have we had the option or opportunity to actually bask in "pure, uninterrupted Happiness?" For me personally I would have to say: Not much. Why is this so? I have come to understand it as a simple misunderstanding of words and a misperception of needs and desires.

What is happiness exactly, is it a state of being or just another emotion that flutters within us? I acknowledge happiness to be one emotion in an extensive and complicated cauldron of emotions, felt by a person either alone or simultaneously with other emotions. I have determined that in my own life it is not Happiness that I am in need of or desire, rather I work for Well-Being. So what is Well-Being? This question in and of itself is so very complicated, and while I have found what is the most comprehensive way possible to define it in these particular moments of my life, that is not to say it will not evolve into something different at another time. Well-being is the collective health and wellness of one's physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and connected self. Wellness is a symptom of well-being, indicating individually defined balance.

I spent a great deal of time, introspection, and energy developing an understanding of what it really meant for me to be well and whole. During the course of this development it occurred to me that I really didn't know very much about myself. I had always adapted to whatever role was necessary at the time and here I was doing the exact same thing as a mom. Now I've always known on some level that I was a pretty awesome chic and while I may have longed to know myself, I never really invested. Once I had my son, I felt a sense of urgency that was exceptionally difficult to ignore; didn't he deserve to know me, who I truly am? Didn't he deserve every ounce of me?

My initial process went a little something like this: I had my son which fulfilled me in ways I never thought possible and it lit a flame under my "tushy"to get on the ball and learn to be whole and well as the very best me possible. I came across some feminist literature, which I found absolutely empowering and compelling. I re-united with a dear friend and almost immediately following that we began to take a Spirituality class, which led me to intense exploration of goddess cultures and the Divine Feminine. Next thing I knew I was feeling good about me and completely absorbed in anything about The Goddess. I started to look a bit more closely at feminist theory and perspective and began to form my own thoughts and opinions regarding those particular topics. All of a sudden I was a fantastic Mother, who loved her plush body and herself, a self proclaimed sexy and fierce feminist, who loved fashion and make-up again, falling back in love with my son's father (my partner), a "witchy"witch again, and completely engulfed by Goddess Spirituality. This is the "me"my son deserves, this is the woman he will admire and look to for guidance. What better gift can I give him?

We cannot forget ourselves, we cannot learn to just "make it"in the chaos that permeates our lives. Most of the moms I know are full-time everything: partners, parents, employees, chefs, housekeepers, and all of that other good stuff. Most moms I know are driven by the societal pressures and expectations of being a "super mom"and while a lot of us have varying degrees of help and support from our partners we are still consistently reminded of the imposed obligations that come with being a "super mom." I say screw that, I say that the most important thing is having a loving, meaningful relationship with my son and partner; when I get home from work I want to be with them, sit at the table and eat, play on the floor, snuggle up and watch a movie. If that means dinner isn't always "home"cooked and my house is a bit "lived in," so be it, who cares? My son knows me and he knows that his mommy and daddy love one another and enjoy their time with him. He knows what it is to be a part of something beautiful and full; our family is full of love, play, acceptance, and a genuine enjoyment of one another. When we clean, we play; when we cook, we play; when we shop, we play; and while my house is not spotless and my meals are not gourmet, my home is a home with a real, devoted family in it and I know what I need and I am not at all afraid to insist that I get it.

I cannot emphasize enough that women must individually determine their worth as a mom and acknowledge that the messages we receive about motherhood from the media and magazines, maybe even our friends and families are potentially based in misinformation and stereotypical ideology. We must find what works for us and we must always remember that we are still important; we must be nurtured and cared for by ourselves if we are to expect it from others. We must laugh at ourselves and engage our own growth and development, never forgetting that there is always something new to learn about ourselves. Our children, our partners, our jobs, and whatever other responsibilities that we have are not the end all be all of us.

I am not a mother who happens to be a feminist and a witch, I am a "Witchy, Feminist Mother"who happens to love, cherish, and adore herself. You may be an "Artsy, Activist Mom," "A Domestic Goddess," or an "Intellectual, Writer Mom;" whatever it may be, figure it out and Live it.

Originally posted on CharlotteMommies.com
Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Simple Two Week Meal Planning Method For Busy Moms

It's 6 p.m. and the end of yet another hectic day. You're stressed and rushing around the kitchen like a mad woman. You've got hungry kids underfoot, a barking dog, homework deadlines, soccer practice sooner rather than later, and on top of that... you have no worldly idea of what to prepare for dinner.

Sound familiar?

Although it's a common scenario in many  households around the dinner hour, it doesn't have to be for your family.

One option that I've found to be a no muss, no fuss way that simplifies getting dinner on the table
for my family (without the chaos) is to use the two week meal planning method.

The basic idea is to make a list of 10 to 14 of your families favorite main dishes (I usually plan 5 meals a week, leaving 2 days open for leftovers and/or take-out) to build your meals around, and then simply put them on a two week rotation, serving a different one every day.

That's it, it's that simple.

Now granted there's not a ton of variety here, but chances are you're probably regularly preparing a handful of tried-and-true winners anyway.

Think about it, your family is eating meals whether you take the time to plan for them or not, so then why not put some forethought into it, right? You will save time, money, and your sanity!

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when planning meals for your family:
Always keep staples on hand. A variety of frozen vegetables, pasta, peppers & onions, potatoes, rice, salad greens, etc.

Be flexible, nothing has to be written in stone. Work in a new recipe now and then, serve the meatballs on Tuesday instead of Thursday, if the zucchini is looking a little withered this week, buy the broccoli instead. You get the idea.

Determine what ingredients you will need before heading to the grocery store. After you have decided what recipes you want to make for the upcoming week, check your cupboards and fridge to see what you already have on hand. If you've got it, use it. Grab the remaining items from the grocery store.

Love your leftovers. Allow some space in your weekly schedule for "Leftover Night." Just heat them up and add a nice crispy green salad with crusty bread and let the family go to town! You practically get the night off and a chance to clean out the fridge.

When planning your weekly menus, be sure to keep your families schedule of weekly evening activities in mind. On nights when your family has many activities planned, go for something quick and easy like. Save the meatloaf for a lazy Sunday afternoon when time is on your side.

As you can see, meal planning doesn't have to be a complicated or time consuming ordeal, especially if you give the 2 week meal planning method a try.

Wouldn't it be such a relief to know that you don't have to worry about dinner every night? You will no longer dread dinner time, but in fact, you will actually look forward to it.

Bon Appetit!

Originally posted on FrederickMommies.com
Monday, August 22, 2011

Menu Monday Classic Western Burgers

Classic Western Burgers

Ingredients:
10 slices thick-cut bacon (about 3/4 lb. total)
2 large eggs
2/3 cup milk
1 onion (about 8 oz.), peeled and minced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
About 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
About 1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 pounds ground lean (about 7% fat) beef
1 cup soft bread crumbs (see notes)
10 slices red onion (each 1/4 in. thick and 3 to 4 in. wide)
10 slices (about 4 by 4 in.) extra-sharp white or yellow cheddar cheese (about 5 oz. total)
10 hamburger buns (each about 4 in. wide; 3 oz.), split in half
Special slaw

Cooking Instructions:
1. In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over medium-high heat, cook bacon, in batches if necessary, turning occasionally, until browned on both sides and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. With tongs, transfer to paper towels to drain. When cool, break each slice in half.
2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat eggs, milk, onion, garlic, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper to blend. Add beef and bread crumbs and mix gently. Form into 10 equal patties, each about 4 1/2 inches wide.

3. Brush onion slices lightly on both sides with bacon fat in pan. Discard remaining fat.

4. Lay patties and onion slices on a barbecue grill over a solid bed of hot coals or high heat on a gas grill (you can hold your hand at grill level only 2 to 3 seconds); close lid on gas grill. Cook, turning meat and onions once to brown on both sides, until a thermometer inserted in center of thickest part of meat registers 160 degrees (no longer pink in center), 6 to 8 minutes total.

5. About 2 minutes before patties are done, top each with a slice of cheese. Also lay bun halves, cut side down, on grill and toast 1 to 2 minutes.

6. Set bun bottoms on a platter or plates. With a wide spatula, transfer patties to bun bottoms. Top each with a grilled onion slice, 2 pieces of bacon, and a spoonful of special slaw. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover with bun tops.

Submitted to The Mommies Network recipe database by "Becky"
Friday, August 19, 2011

Healthy Emotions

My husband, Adam, left this morning for a conference in Houston, TX.  He's gone to conferences before, but this is the first one since Rowan was born.  I always have had a lot of respect for single parents, when he's gone that respect just grows and grows.  Each conference he's gone to has presented me with new and different challenges as a parent.  The first conference Kara was just a year old and she got her first big illness.  I was unable to get much sleep or food.  All she wanted was to lay on my lap and be held.  Going to the bathroom was an adventure: have you ever tried to hitch your pants up when your child is strapped to you and throwing up at the same time?  Other conferences I've had the joys of explaining to Kara why her dad isn't there and why he wasn't going to be home for x days.   I got quite skilled at keeping her distracted from his absence.  This time though I am presented with 2 new challenges.  The first being that I now have two children, one that is awake frequently during the night and needs much of my attention (and body).  The second is one I had not thought of before.

How do you express emotions around your children?  Prior to Kara when Adam would go to a conference I would have cried a bit, gone home, eaten junk food and watched TV, read some books, done a puzzle and stayed up way past my bedtime.  Now I know better than to spend my time watching TV, staying up late and eating junk food.  I'm sure I'll read plenty of books and may do some puzzles. Granted the books may not be more complicated than naming dinosaurs and the puzzles will have less than 50 pieces.  But what to do about the desire to cry?  Do I show Kara how sad I am that her dad has left?  Do I let her see how worried I am about how our time alone will go and his safety?  Or do I keep a stiff upper lip and keep on going as if nothing has changed?  If I don't express my emotions, in a healthy way that is, am I teaching Kara to not acknowledge her own emotions?  Does that teach her to be a stoic and afraid of emotions?  If I show her the tears does that then lead her to fear and worry when she shouldn't have that burden?  Will she feel she needs to take care of me since I am sad?  This also leads me to examine how we deal with Kara's tantrums and other outbursts of emotion.  Right now we ask her to calm down and say that once she is calm we can talk about what is bothering her. But does that teach her that she shouldn't express the emotion?  Would it be better to say "wow, you are really sad/angry/upset.  Let's take a moment to be that way, then we can calm down and talk about what has made you feel that way"?  We do try to acknowledge the emotion by saying "you sound really sad", but is that enough?  Do we need to give her more space to feel and express the emotion?  I want to raise children that are not afraid of their emotions and can express them in a healthy way.  I don't want them learning to stuff their feelings down or to think that it's not ok to let others know how they are feeling.  Emotions can be powerful and influence our thinking more than we often realize or admit.  To have a healthy relationship with emotions would allow them to recognize, feel, and then move on past the emotions so they do not influence their decisions excessively.  The question is- how to achieve that.

Submitted by Heidi-rose Creuzinger, member of NorthMetroDCMommies.  Heidi-rose blogs at Terror at 3 Feet & Rising.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Is Sleep Training Right for You?

Do you have a perpetual fog around you as you go through each day? Do you forget what you were about to do/say/ask right after it pops into your head? Is your one consistent thought really a prayer that you will get more than two hours of sleep at any one time? I was right where you are now for the first 9 months of my twin’s lives. I had tried everything, researched for hours, bought books...reflux and teething were initial issues, but even after these abated the sleep challenges continued.

I ended up sleeping on a bed in the nursery with my son (my daughter had few sleep issues). He would not stay asleep for more than 45 minutes at a time and wanted to be nursed back to sleep--I would try to sneak him into the crib and he would immediately wake and be very upset with me.

I found out I had trained him to only fall asleep by my nursing/holding him, and the slightest try for freedom would reset him to his neediest self all through the night. While I fully support co-sleeping, it seemed this arrangement made both of us wake far more often then was healthy for either of us.

I was at my wits end when I tried Suzy Giordano's book, "The Baby Sleep Solution: A Proven Program to Teach Your Baby to Sleep Twelve Hours a Night.' The best part is there's very little crying involved. I learned really helpful tips, such as most babies want to sleep earlier than we schedule them, even if they act charged up until bedtime.

Basically, Giordano’s method is in three steps:

# 1: Feed four times a day, every four hours. Make sure they get 24 oz or more a day, or a full nursing session (keeps them from wanting to snack all night). If they get fussy early, distract with a walk or new activity. Try to stay within 15 minutes of schedule. Do solids at the same time if feeding.

# 2: Do your bathing/pre-bed routine at the same time in the same order every night, feeding last--then place baby in crib awake (full, warm, dry), leave AND CLOSE THE DOOR--no sneaking! If she cries, wait 3 or so minutes, come back in, comfort. Don't pick up, but rub belly, sshhh, etc. Leave as soon as she calms, and repeat until she falls asleep. The first night can take four hours or more, but each night gets easier. By three nights, my son went from wailing to no crying when I left the room. It was a relief to be able to go in to him and not let him get hysterical.

# 3: When the first steps work, start to place baby in crib awake during naps after a shortened pre-nap routine using the same method.

The first week was a nightmare of no naps ( I almost gave up) because I had gotten them into feeding before naps, but I adjusted naps to within 2 hours of feeding, and they got fully used to it by 10 days (AM nap for 1 hour, 2 hour PM nap).

Both babies now regularly sleep from 7:30-6:30! While still nursing, I did one feeding if their little night cries escalated--they usually didn't eat enough during the day on those nights.

Good luck and happy sleeping! 


 

Source: Giordano, Suzy. The Baby Sleep Solution: A Proven Program to Teach Your Baby to
Sleep Twelve Hours a Night.

Submitted by Angel from NorthMetroDCMommies.  Originally posted on the NorthMetroDCMommies Blog on June 15, 2011.
Monday, August 15, 2011

Menu Monday

Double-Bean Burritos

Ingredients:
1 (3 1/2-ounce) bag boil-in-bag brown rice
1 cup chunky bottled salsa
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
6 (10-inch) flour tortillas
6 tablespoons bean dip (such as Frito Lay)
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeno peppers
1 peeled avocado, cut into 6 slices
12 cilantro sprigs
6 lime wedges (optional)

Cooking Instructions:
Cook rice according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.
While rice cooks, combine salsa and black beans in a small saucepan; cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Stack tortillas; wrap stack in damp paper towels. Microwave at high 25 seconds or until warm.

Spread 1 tablespoon bean dip over each tortilla; top each tortilla with 1/4 cup rice, 1/3 cup black bean mixture, 2 tablespoons cheese, 1 avocado slice, and 2 cilantro sprigs; roll up.

Serving Suggestions:
Serve with your favorite salsa for dipping.
Serve with lime wedges, if desired.

Submitted to The Mommies Network recipe database by "Becky"
Friday, August 12, 2011

Last Chance!

The Mommies Network National Auction closes Saturday, August 13, at 10 p.m. EST! There are but a few hours left to place your bids. With more than 600 items, ranging from boutique clothing to autographed books to tickets to Dollywood, there is sure to be something for every taste and budget.

Click on a link below to see what's what in each category!
Amusement Parks, Activities, and Travel
Beauty 
Books, Music, and Games
Children's Clothing
Classes and Lessons
Crafts, Collectibles, and Toys
Decor and Home Items
Dining
Fashion and Jewelry
Health and Fitness
Infant Items
Infant/Child Gear
Maternity and Breastfeeding
Miscellaneous
Party Time
Photography Packages

By bidding on an item, you are helping mommies all over the country! Twenty-five percent of the proceeds from The Mommies Network National Auction will benefit Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. The remaining portion of the proceeds will go to furthering our mission:

To provide a safe, secure, FREE place for mothers to find support and encouragement from other mothers and to empower them to be better women, parents, and community leaders.



How Do Scientists Make Watermelon Flavor?

It is a summer time favorite -a venerable taste of the season. I have loved the taste of these big delicious red and green melons since I was a kid! The experience is unmistakable-with the juices that run down your neck and the seeds you can spit easily because they are slippery-the flavor unmatched. Or so I thought.

The first candies I tasted with watermelon flavor were way back in the mid 1980’s, Jolly Rancher Hard Candies. I was amazed at the flavor, the color and the smell -oh the smell! However great this new candy tasted, I was ultimately disappointed in the lack of subtlety of the candies’ flavor that can only be found in the fruit itself. It was then that I knew right there in the middle of winter, there would just never be the perfect watermelon flavor to whet my appetite. I tried, though. I tried many times to find it. It never was found.

Today, I sit eating a scrumptious piece of the real fruit and I think back to that moment. And, I wonder why. Why couldn’t there be the perfect blend of odor and taste to bring this fantastic delight to me in the wintertime? Well, besides having the watermelons flown in from the southern hemisphere.

I got to work. I looked up natural versus artificial flavors. I looked at histories and chemistry notes. I think I might have the answer.

It all starts with a chemical compound called an “ester”. A chemist can find these esters by boiling down or deconstructing the very fruit, or other natural element, into the chemical components that make it up. Then, when taking the water molecule out of such so that it breaks down even more into a compound made up of the reaction between an acid and an alcohol, one finds the ester.

These esters are the basic building blocks of taste and scent for the flavor. The ester for an orange flavor is called octyl acetate (CH3COOC8H17). The “octyl” is the alcohol and the “acetate” is the acid. So, by adding these esters to a product’s ingredients, the product will taste like an orange. Well, at least to some degree.

I did some further digging and found out that my precious watermelon flavor used to be based on a strong belief that alcohols were the main contributors towards the aroma. The study by some chemists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign actually found out that a watermelon’s ester, the one that can smell like fresh cut watermelon, is identifiable but not stable enough to flavor anything. It breaks down too quickly. These chemists worked on the problem but found that if you used the ester, nicknamed “watermelon aldehyde”, and bonded it to a synthesized “backbone”, the result still wasn’t good enough to be a suitable replacement for the esters on the market now.

This process goes for every flavor you can imagine. The chemists find the esters. The food producers add the ester compounds to the products. The public figures out if the product does taste like the food producers want you think it tastes. And, we all happily go about our business.

Of course there is a huge debate whether these artificial flavors are a good thing or a bad thing. This follows along the same lines as the debate on artificial colors or news of the development of the Local Food Movement. These ideas will have to be addressed in other blog posts. In this article, I just wanted to find out “why?”

As a result of all my research, here we sit, with a mock watermelon flavor that just cannot satisfy my cravings for this summer fruit during the summer. The real thing is still the best! But, it might just do in a pinch come Halloween!


Written by Adea for the TriangleMommies Blog, part of TMN. All rights reserved. July 2011.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Well-Balanced Moms Have More Fun!

Or should I say "Well Balanced Moms Are More Fun?" Let me ask you, When was the last time you had lunch with some girl friends, or went on a girl's night out? When was the last time you went on a romantic weekend getaway with your spouse? If you can't remember, we definitely have to talk.

It's so easy to fall into the mommy guilt trap. We feel guilty if we take time for ourselves, so we end up taking care of everyone in the family but us. It's easy to lose ourselves in the quest to become Super Mom. Along the way we get stressed out and aggravated. It's important to do something just for us to stay balanced moms. Here are some ways for you to get started on your journey to rediscover YOU.

1. Get together with some girlfriends. One of the best ways to rediscover yourself is to spend some time with your girlfriends each week. Have lunch together, go to the movies to watch the latest chick flick, or plan a girl's night out every once in a while.

2. If you are having a bad day, call one of your girlfriends to vent, or just chat. You'll be surprised how much better you feel and how it puts things back in perspective that seemed like the end of the world a few minutes ago.


3. Spend a romantic weekend with your spouse anywhere but at home. Go away for a romantic weekend with your spouse a few times a year. Rekindle your passion for each other and feel in love again, instead just partners in dealing with the everyday stuff involved in raising kids.


4. Go on a date every week. Get a sitter once a week and go on a date with your significant other. Spend some time reconnecting with each other. If you have an activity that you both enjoy, take a class together.


5. Pamper Yourself. Do something every week to pamper yourself. Go get a new haircut. Visit your favorite nail saloon for a manicure, pedicure or to get your nails done. Call your favorite day spa and schedule a facial. Get a massage.

If you are on a budget, pamper yourself at home. Send Dad and the kids to the park. Take a hot bubble bath and paint you toenails. Honey makes a quick facial. Place a cloth in warm water and apply to your face to open the pores. Smear on honey, and leave on for 15 to 30 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.

Don't feel guilty about taking time for yourself a few times a week. Your kids will appreciate it when they get a balanced and fun mom in return. You will be more relaxed, happier and actually be able to enjoy your family. After all, that's why you had kids in the first place, didn't you?

Originally posted on SaltLakeCityMommies
Monday, August 8, 2011

Menu Monday

Australian Lime Pie

Ingredients:
3/4 Cup Rolled Oats
3/4 Cup Rolled Coconut
3/4 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Butter
2 Tbsp Lite Corn Syrup
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 Can (14 oz) Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/2 Cup Lime Juice
4 Egg Yolks (beaten)
2 tsp Grated Lemon Zest
9" x 9" Cake Pan (greased)

Cooking Instructions:
Preheat Oven to: 350 Degrees Fahrenheit

1. Mix oats, coconut, flour, and sugar together in a medium bowl.

2.Use a microwave to melt butter in a second bowl.

3. Add corn syrup and bakng soda to the butter. Stir until the mixture becomes frothy.

4. Pour butter mixture into the oat mixture and stir until completely blended.

5. Press this oat mixture into the bottom and sides of a 9" greased cake pan.

6. In another medium bowl, beat condensed milk, lime juice, egg yolks, and lemon zest together at medium speed for 1 minute.

7. Pour this liquid mixture into the cake pan.

8. Bake for 20 minutes at 350°F until the center is firm. Be careful that it doesn't burn on top.

9. Remove from oven and chill before serving.


Submitted to The Mommies Network recipe database by "Slicky1979"
Sunday, August 7, 2011

The National Auction has Arrived!

It is said that it takes a village to raise a child, but it also takes a community to support a mother and to provide her with the resources, encouragement, and opportunities necessary for her to be her best. With more than 90 local chapters and a national site that reaches all moms, The Mommies Network provides that community.

We are a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide a safe, secure, FREE place for mothers to find support and encouragement from other mothers and to empower them to be better women, parents, and community leaders. Our philosophy is that no one should have to pay a fee to make a friend, so we offer free membership to any mother within the community who wishes to join. Members gain camaraderie and support through an online forum that is available 24 hours a day, as well as local events where mothers can meet and develop friendships that last a lifetime.


This August, The Mommies Network is hosting our second annual National Auction and will donate 25 percent of the funds raised to Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, a national network of volunteer photographers who "introduce remembrance photography to parents suffering the loss of a baby with the free gift of professional portraiture … [to] serve as an important step in the family's healing process by honoring their child's legacy." The remaining 75 percent of funds raised will be used to further the mission of TMN to provide support to moms across the country.

We believe that by working together, mothers can change the world — one family, one neighborhood, one community at a time. The Mommies Network is a connecting force, helping us each to make a difference in our own lives, in our families, and in the places we call home.
Friday, August 5, 2011

Preserving Our Memories


I find it amazing how something small and otherwise trivial can bring about a flood of memories. Listen to a song from your high school years and see where your mind wanders. Catch a whiff of a certain cologne and your memories take over!

There are so many ways to preserve our special memories. Here are just a few ideas to try:

THOUGHTS
What better way to preserve your thoughts than to keep a journal. Some people cringe at the idea of journal writing: they think of "Dear Diary, today I woke up, I brushed my teeth..." However journals can be so much more than that!
• Create a special journal for things you think about your husband. When you fill it up, you can give it to him as a gift (or keep it for yourself to remember all that honeymoon bliss or little petty arguments that seemed so big at the time!)
• Create a special journal for your hopes and dreams. Only write in it when you get an idea of "what you want to be when you grow up." Go back through it years from now and laugh at all of your ideas and applaud the good ones!
• Create a journal for your children. Start it when you first find out that they are coming and write in it intermittently throughout their life. Give it to them as a special one-of-a-kind gift on their graduation or wedding day.
• Create a prayer journal. Write down your thoughts and prayers to God. Go back through it periodically and check off prayers that have been answered. See how God is working in your life!
Whatever kind of journal you decide to make, don't feel you have to write in it everyday if you don't want to. Use it as a creative outlet, a place to store your best (and worst) memories and a place to let out your emotions. Years from now, it will be a treasured gift for you or whomever you share it with.


FAMILY HERITAGE
Have you ever wanted to find out more about your family history? With the advent of the world wide web, this has never been easier. Preserve your heritage by creating a family tree. Trace your ancestors back to the Mayflower or beyond! Find your family crest and proudly display it in your home. Researching your family history can be a fun and educational experience for the whole family. There are many websites available to help you find information and help you get in touch with long-lost relatives..


PHOTOGRAPHS
So you have piles, drawers and boxes full of old photographs? Join the club! There are so many ways to preserve photographs today! You can scan photos and save them on disk. You can also go to a professional studio where they can take photos, videos and even old movie reels and transfer them to DVD (you can find a list of local studios at the end of this article). There are many different photo storage solutions out there. Photo boxes that are acid-free are best. Store your photos in a cool, dry, dark place (garages, basements and attics are not good choices!). If you decide to put your photos in albums, make sure the albums are made with acid-free materials. Avoid using photo albums with the sticky pages -- over time the glue will permanently bond to your photos, making it impossible to remove them. If you are a creative person, you can preserve your photographs and other memorabilia in a scrapbook (or two, or five!). Scrapbooking is very big these days and there is a plethora of stickers, papers, borders and other paraphernalia to make your scrapbooks sparkle.


MUSIC
For me, music brings about a lot of memories. I can listen to a song and be instantly transported to my junior prom, my college apartment or a special moment in my marriage. I will never forget the song that was playing as I delivered my daughter (It was "Deliver Me" by Sarah Brightman, believe it or not!). Go through your collection of tapes, records, CDs and even 8-Tracks (does anyone have those anymore?). Make a mixed tape or CD of the songs that mean something to you or help you remember a certain time in your life. Listening to them will allow you to take a step back into history -- and you will have a lot of fun putting them together too!


CLOTHING
Did you have a favorite dress as a child or teen? Or now, as a mother, does the sight of your daughter's first Easter dress send you down memory lane? Consider making a quilt out of these old clothes. A small scrap of each fabric is enough for a square and with a little effort, you will have a family heirloom full of memories.


SCENTS
How I wish I still had the scent that my grandmother used to wear! Whenever I catch a whiff of that scent, I know everything will be ok. I wish I knew what it was so I could always have it around for reassurance. You can keep your favorite smells nearby in a number of ways. Candle companies make scented candles in hundreds of scents, including Christmas Cookies (for us baking-illiterate folks), Seaside, with the smell of the ocean breeze and many others. These candles are usually reasonably priced and will fill your whole house with a lovely scent that can bring back lots of memories of good times. If it is a perfume you want to save, here is an easy sachet you can make:

Cotton Ball Sachet
Ingredients Needed:
6 inch square of fine lace material
18 inch piece of narrow ribbon
6 cotton balls
perfume
Instructions:
1. Lay 6 cotton balls together in center of lace material.
2. Spray cotton balls with perfume.
3. Bring ends of lace together, over cotton balls, and tie firmly with ribbon.
4. Tie ribbon in a bow.
(Cotton Ball Sachet From: "You Can Make It! You Can Do It!" by Ann Peaslee, Jullien Kille & Dave Ball)

Originally Posted on CharlotteMommies.com
Wednesday, August 3, 2011

How Did I Get Here?

With Nick Jr. blaring in the background, a two year old snoring on her bean bag chair, and a husband snoring on the couch, I am sitting here thinking, " how did I get here?" I was a 25 year old graphic designer for the local newspaper one day, and the next I was pregnant and planning my wedding. Yes, you read that right; my daughter was a surprise baby. She has been the best surprise I have ever had. Since having her, my life has completely changed. I went from living at home with my parents and working full time, to being married to a wonderful man and working as a SAHM.

I can honestly say I wouldn't change a thing. It has been a tough road, but I have learned so much and I've realized how lucky I am to have the mother that I do. My mother has always been my rock and my hero. Growing up, she worked full time as a teacher, yet still made me and my two sisters breakfast each day and drove us to school. She kept our house spotless at all times and cooked us dinner every night. I never really appreciated everything she did for me when I was young. I just thought, well that is what moms are supposed to do.

Now being a mom myself, I look at my mother in a whole new light. I believe she wears an invisible super hero cape. I am amazed and puzzled at how she managed to cook breakfast and dinner for our whole family every day. As a SAHM, I am ashamed to say I barely manage to cook a well rounded dinner three nights out of the week. My mother was always on top of the house cleaning, also. She had a set routine each Saturday - we all had our chores and the house was cleaned top to bottom. My apartment is not clean from top to bottom. I am lucky if it is somewhat clean on most days. I have learned from my mother that things take time. She told me she wasn't always supermom and that it took her years to get into a set routine. As an adult and now a mother, I can look back at my mother and learn so many lessons. I take notes daily and try my best to apply lessons that my mother taught me to my day to day life.

I know I will never be a mirror image of my mother. Honestly, I don't want to be that. I want to be Me - the best mother I can be to my daughter. I feel as mothers we are our worst critics. We criticize ourselves up and down if our lives are not like June Cleaver from Leave It To Beaver. If we are not made up head to toe with the perfect house greeting our husbands with a warm meal and a cold one in our hands at the end of the day, we feel like we've failed. Life is tough and no one is perfect. But I do know that I have a strong, wonderful woman by my side to help me though this journey - My Mom. On top of that, I have a whole network of Moms at my fingertips though The Mommies Network. With both of these tools I am Super Mom.

Originally posted by Kathy from CentralPiedmontMommies.com on The Mommies Network National Blog, 5/7/11
Monday, August 1, 2011

The National Auction is Coming! Want a Sneak Peek?


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