Menu Planning Monday

This is a great money saving trick that really works.

Menu Planning Monday is a way for you to get organized for the week. I usually organize all of this on a Sunday. I love trying new recipes and seeing what I can do!

Here's our meals this week:

Monday- Salad and Stacked Chicken Enchiladas from Gimme Some Oven!

!



Tuesday- Cold Poached Salmon and Quinoa Tabbouleh




Wednesday- Left overs


Thursday- OUT!


Friday- Cilantro Ginger Flank Steak and Edamame rice






Saturday- Tasting party at our house. More on that later!

Whats on your menu this week??

And Then I Jumped In The Pool







Living in California many of us Mom's have pools. Swimming playdates and parties are frequent. On one such occasion a friend of mine came to a pool party and immediately stripped down and jumped in the pool. The other Moms stared. She looked around.


"Is nobody going in the pool? Do we not do that?"

Sadly, we don't.

Whether it's we haven't shaved, have not worked out enough, don't want to get our hair wet or are just too tired, we Mom's don't get in the pool. It's sad.

I watch the kids playing in the pool with reckless abandon. Jumping off the side of the pool making crazy faces and poses. I see them squirt each other with water guns and use our floating toys as surf boards. Their joy is palpable.

Don't get me wrong, we Moms are having our laughs, sharing, chatting but...

We're not jumping in the pool.

It seems the weight of all our responsibilities is too heavy. We might sink to the bottom of the pool. We're trying to keep our lives afloat through first days of school, homework, job stress, making dinner, making time for our husbands, working out, or not working out, laundry, caring for pets, caring for parents, social obligations, and steeling ourselves from run ins with mean Moms who might say "Oh my GOD did you see her in a bathing suit? I would never show my body if it looked like THAT."

My friends innocent jumping in the pool and looking at us saying "Do we not do that?"

Made me realize. No we don't.

I want you to make a pact with me. The next time you are at a pool party, a swim playdate, a vacation, an indoor pool, or even the YMCA....jump in the pool. Get your hair wet. Let your kids see you have fun and not worry about all there is to do. Let yourself not worry about how you look or what everyone else thinks.

Hold my hand. Let's jump together.

Let's jump in the pool.




Best Side Dish For Labor Day! Mexican Style Corn!

We call this fabulousness  "Mexi-Corn".




Everyone who tries it says it's "CRACK CORN" LOL!!!! Sarina helped hubby make them and is now HOOKED!



We served it last night. You should make it this weekend!

  • 5 ears fresh corn, husked 
  •  
    For the Spread:
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tablespoons sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • Juice from one lime
  •  
    For the Topping:
  • 1/4 cup grated Cotija cheese
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (or chili powder if you want heat)
  • Chopped cilantro, for garnish (optional)
ENJOY!!!!

Best Family Friendly Hotel- The Omni Homestead!

While we were camping in Virginia my Mom had the brilliant idea to break up the week by heading to the Omni Homestead in Hot Springs, VA. It did not disappoint!

I had been to the Homestead years earlier and remembered the gorgeous grounds and southern charm.


They have a spa that looked to DIE FOR!!!!!


But since I was with the kids we had more of a family experience. There are waterslides, a lazy river, a kids club, a kids camp, mini golf etc!!!!


They even had a duck race while we were there! So cute!!!!


There are so many things to do here. Golf, shooting, fly fishing, horseback riding and horse and carriage rides!


The restaurants there are top notch as well. We had a fabulous birthday dinner for my mom in the grand ballroom complete with dancing to the band. It was heaven.



The service in the hotel was impeccable and the kids had a ball! The perfect family friendly hotel! Did I mention the brand new arcade and bowling!!!!???

Meet The Teacher - Teacher Gifts!

As school starts again I have mixed emotions of not wanting the Summer to end but also wanting these kids OUT OF MY HOUSE. HA!!!!!

Might as well start the year off RIGHT with a MEET THE TEACHER GIFT.

I have a bunch I found that are just too cute. Which one should I do!?

1) Thank You Planter-


How cute is this from My Happy Place?
Chalk paint, a plant and a ribbon DONE!

2) Crayon Name Picture!



This is too cute but more advanced for sure from Melissas Bargains.

3) This Survival Kit is adorable.


Clean and Sensible has it as a Valentines Day gift but I think it's great for a meet your teacher gift too. 

4) Pencil Bouquet= AKA sheer brilliance from Less Cake More Frosting!


What do you think? Which one should I do? You should see what my bestie did! How great is this??? It's a door hanger!








Can you sit? In the pit?

Seems like the older I get the more hard times people are facing. I mean really hard times. It's easy to be with someone when things are fabulous....



But can you sit......




In the PIT?



The pit of despair? Divorce? Cancer? Infertility? Aging parents? Sick kids? Alcoholism? Drug abuse? Can you sit with someone while they go through this? Can you sit with yourself while you go through this?


It's tough.

When I was in the PIT. People came to sit with me. Not everyone could do it. One time my PIT was 52 days in the NICU with Landon. People visiting had to endure seeing one pound babies going into constant cardiac arrest. There were tears. There were hands held. There were a thousand prayers said.

Another PIT was at Childrens Hospital for three weeks with Coco. Mystery illness with no end in site. People came. They sat in the pit. They talked me off the ledge. They brought me lunch. They brought me dinner. They cried with me.

The pit is scary because we're sometimes not sure of it's the bottom or we have to GO DEEPER.  Going deeper than we're used to is frightening but enlightening. This is when we REALLY FIND OUT WHO WE ARE.  It's intense. For us and our friends. That's why not everyone can do it.


Please I beg you. If you have a friend who is in the PIT. Go sit with them. Even being there, bearing witness, means everything. Show them they are NOT ALONE.

The PIT may even be grabbing a drink with a friend even though you're tired. Or showing up with a meal. Or meeting for coffee. PITS can be mental and physical after all. 

AND if you're in the PIT you will make it out. There will be light coming in. Just wait for it.

 

I'm going to visit a friend in the PIT Tuesday while she has her second round of chemo. I'm scared. For her, for me, not knowing what to say or do....but I'm going. I have to. Because anyone who's been in the PIT knows. YOU HAVE TO GO. 

BE BRAVE.

Because you are someone's lifeline today.

Say No To Playdates? My response to Dad In Charge

There is a movement, small as it may be, to ban playdates. A stay at home Dad and Blogger Dad In Charge, wrote all about it. You can read it HERE.


He makes the argument that he was growing up there were no scheduled playdates. He thinks things are getting too elaborate, too planned, too over scheduled.

I do agree that kids need spontaneity and to be BORED sometimes so they can create and be self sufficient BUT, so no to play dates? NO WAY.

Playdates are not just for the kids, THEY'RE FOR THE MOTHERS. There has been many a playdate, where I or a Mom have divulged our deepest, darkest, secret fears of parenting, relationships, our parents, our nannys, our husbands and kids. We get support, advice, guidance, love and LAUGHS from these playdates. We socialize our kids, help them work things out, build relationships and grow. Mom's need to rid themselves of the feeling of total isolation and the guilt of parenting. They need to feel heard and accepted. That's what playdates are for.

No, you don't have to put out a cheese plate (although guess what I DO!), but being a gracious host also shows your kids something ALL kids are lacking now. MANNERS. To treat someone else graciously in your home. They learn that they can't have it their way all the time, their "guest" gets to choose too. They negotiate and build friendships.

So before we start throwing the playdates out the window, let's consider the other side. What do you think? Are playdates a waste of time? Ruining our kids? Or are they your lifeline? Your key to your kids social development? Weigh in!

Going Gluten Free- For Weight Loss

I had to do something. I am not committed to exercise except my one cardio tennis class a week with my favorite girls. And I am not going to stop eating....so what's an over 40 gal supposed to do?

Cut to my friend Shanna telling me she had lost 17 pounds after going gluten free. HUH??

I quizzed her. Can I eat cheese? Check. Can I drink wine? Check. Can I eat Chocolate? Check check.

I was IN!

It's been 2 1/2 weeks and I have lost 7 pounds. I am telling you the scale had NOT BEEN MOVING DOWN in a long while so I am pleased as punch. And you know what? My pants fit better. And you know what else? I feel better.

I am Gluten Free!

I'm making this Eggplant and Zucchini Lasagna tonight!


See all the cheese? Yeah me too! YUM!

Have you tried going Gluten Free? I'm telling you even the gluten free pizzas and pastas are great!

Here's a list of some gluten free foods:



Graduating from preschool- just a minor panic attack!

Sorry I have been out of touch friends!

Truth is I took on two major commitments. President of Landon's school's PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) and Communications Director for the Junior League! Both of these things, combined with end of the year craziness have kept me really busy.

Coco graduated from preschool last week. This was such a bittersweet moment. On the one hand, she's ready, and cannot wait to go to Kindergarten. She's prepared.



But then I realized that this was my BABY. My baby girl I hoped and prayed for. She's growing up. I watched her graduation with pride and dread. I feel her independent spirit growing.


I love who she's becoming. She's the most fun to be around. 


But....this is the end of an era. I have been at this precious preschool for 7 years. From Mommy and Me all the way up to leaving for kindergarten. With two kids. We have made wonderful friends, our kids have made wonderful friends, and they have gotten the best education. Even at this young age they have been nurtured and loved by their amazing teachers and have learned so much!

I woke up in a panic the night after her graduation. It's over!

I calmed down. It's just the beginning.

No one tells you that this parenting thing is the highest highs, lowest lows and heart pangs that feel like a panic attack. I'm feeling the feelings, I'm looking to the future...and I'm taking all the pictures and videos I can!

RIP Maya Angelou- Still I Rise

Still I Rise

Maya Angelou, 1928 - 2014
 
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.