Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Thing About Parenthood

I read this article from ScaryMommy the other day, and it really made me feel better about life. If you're sensitive to sailor speak, be warned. If not, please, read it, and then read it again.

As I have said before, this whole motherhood thing has really been an eye-opener for me. Basically every notion or idea or feeling I had about how things might go were totally wrong. But here I am, three years later and just five months away from doing it all over again, and I have never been more proud of myself.

It was a struggle, those first couple years, trying to listen to everyone and do what everyone wanted, because clearly I was new at this, so they must know more than me, right?! WRONG! I've finally come to realize, and I want you to, too, that I am the best mother for my child(ren). Some mothers are crunchy and organic, some mothers live on fast food. I'm in the middle. My child lives, he is healthy, he is growing, and he is happy. He gets really dirty, he drinks grape pop, and he eats pepperoni. He is three years old and starting to spell and read! JI is absolutely amazing, and for once I am admitting to others that I did that. Sure, his therapists and teachers helped, but it was all me and Poke. We're the best parents for JI and we have done an awesome job so far!

Right now, times are weird. I've never been more exhausted in my life, yet somehow I am finding the energy to do these fairly strenuous things, like rearrange the whole house to make room for the baby in the 3rd bedroom, repaint and decorate that room, and paint stripes on JI's wall so he can have a big boy room (to last til age 18, at least!). As I type this, I am sitting on his bed waiting for the paint to dry so I can do some touch ups. My parents took him overnight as a surprise and Poke is at work, so I am all alone. It's awesome and lame at the same time... I just miss my boys, even though I am thankful to have the much needed peace and quiet.

The thing about parenthood is that it is all what you make it. You can sit there and read the blogs and compare yourself until you hate your own guts, or you can skip that and go straight to the good stuff. Yes, there will be days when you second guess things, when you lose your sh!t and flip out at the world, but there will also be days when everything goes just right and everyone is cooperating and the world is beautiful. The thing about parenthood is that you're humans raising more humans, and that's just the way it will be.

Cooking with M: Jamaica Allspice Apple Honey Pork Tenderloin

Fall is coming September 21, only a few more weeks of summer to go! Autumn is my favorite time of year. In celebration of it's impending arrival, and the fact that apple picking season has started, I made a Jamaican allspice apple honey pork tenderloin in the slow cooker for dinner. Not only is it yummy, it's easy to do and makes the house smell good all day. This recipe is one of my own creation while digging through the spice cabinet.

While this is the first time using the allspice, I've done other apple honey slow-cooked pork dishes before. Each one has been so tasty. Plus, there are plenty of leftovers for A's lunches for a few days. The apple I used is one that has been sitting in the fridge, needing to be used up. Fresh apples from our favorite orchard will be making an appearance in the next couple of weeks. We go at least once (usually more) each year to apple pick. I can't wait to start on all my yummy apple recipes for the season--even better, I'll get to share them with all of you! Now, on to tonight's delicious pork. (M2 and I ate ours covered in applesauce).

Generously doused with honey/butter/herb mixture

Ingredients
Pork tenderloin, defrosted
1/3 cup honey
1/2 stick butter/margarine
2 tbsp Jamaican allspice
1 large apple, sliced

Directions
  1. Cut slits in the top of the tenderloin, about half an inch apart. Cut most of the way through but not completely.
  2. Melt margarine in the microwave.
  3. Add honey and allspice to the melted margarine, stir until it's well blended and smooth.
  4. Smear over the tenderloin. Separate the slits and pour in a generous amount of the mixture as you go.
  5. Add some water to the slow cooker pot, put the tenderloin in. Cover with the apple slices. Pour any margarine spice mixture that dripped off the pork into the slow cooker.
  6. Set the slow cooker to high, cook about 6 hours or until done. You could put it on a lower heat setting if you want it to cook longer.
Covered with apple and ready to cook

Friday, August 29, 2014

Cooking with M: Weekly Meal Plan

Since we've been on vacation much of August, I haven't had a weekly meal plan to share. Now that we're back, I do! Here's what I'll be whipping up in our kitchen this week. Expect future posts with recipes on some of these dishes!


Friday
Green salad with rotisserie chicken on top. M2 is having ziti.

Saturday
Slow cooked apple honey pork tenderloin, mashed potatoes and mixed veggies

Sunday
Beef tacos with fat-free refried beans and corn/pepper mix

Monday
BBQ boneless skinless chicken breasts, homemade corn bread, baked potatoes and corn

Tuesday
Beef cubes and gravy over egg noodles with broccoli

Wednesday
Pork chops smothered in applesauce, white rice and green beans

Thursday
Leftovers from the week

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Husband Lunch Series #7: Brunch!

Last week Poke got egg/cheese/sausage (or bacon) muffins and veggies with dip. It was kind of a last-minute, I'm pregnant, I don't feel like making anything, let's see what's in the freezer kind of meal mash-up. But the frozen breakfast muffins held up really well in his lunchbox, so that was a bonus! And it was something new, which always impresses his coworkers. *wink*


Copycat Campbell's Tomato Soup

Ever since I stopped buying canned goods, I can always tell if they've been used in a recipe. Whatever it is gets a metallic taste that I just can't stand anymore! Unfortunately, there are a few things that I've had trouble replicating (Cream of Chicken Soup? Oh, gross. Super gross.). I did find an excellent recipe for homemade tomato soup, and it was amazing. I made a few adjustments, and in the end it tasted just like Campbell's!


Cream of Tomato Soup
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 4 cups tomato juice or V-8
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups milk
Melt the butter in a medium size pot. Whisk in flour, stir til you've formed a nice roux. Cook over med-high heat while constantly whisking; add in V-8 slowly as to not splatter. Whisk constantly until any lumps have dissolved. Bring to a slight boil; add in baking soda. SOUP WILL FOAM! Do not be alarmed! Keep whisking! Add in milk, bring back to a boil, remove from heat. If you like it creamier, add more milk. Serve with grilled cheese or crackers or drink it straight from the bowl. Yum yum yum!





Saturday, August 23, 2014

Product Reviews: Well Beginings Diapers from Walgreens

Full disclosure: For this review, I was selected to try out the diapers and blog about it. This meant I got a pack for free. Walgreens even threw in some baby wash and wipes as an added bonus.




Ratings (out of 10)
Overall: 7
Design: 9
Softness: 8
Leak protection: 8
Fit: 9
Sagging: 5
Absorbent pad breakage: 3
Thickness: 9
Recommend: Yes



The first thing I noticed was that these diapers are cute with little elephants on them (M2's favorite!) They have no scent at all to them even with the natural botanicals, vitamin E and aloe on the absorbent pad. Soft and fairly thin sums up the texture and weight.

Cute elephant
M2 liked the elephants when I showed them to her when trying them the first time. The fit was good, the sticky tabs are thick and there's an extra bit of material between the leg elastic and the edge of the diaper to catch leaking poo (some don't have this which leads to poo explosions). Since the diapers aren't very thick, M2 didn't have diaper sticking out the bottom of her shorts and skirts, which was great. You also can't see the design very well through light-weight clothing which is a plus in my book! They're easy to put on and the tabs didn't rip off (I hate when diapers do that!)

M2 approved



In-use the diapers scored pretty well. M2 got no rash. They're very absorbent and poo stayed in well also. The band didn't roll up, sides didn't stick out the top after wear. The two negatives were 1. As soon as they get more than just a tiny bit wet, they sag. Because of the sag, the fit was then much looser. 2. The absorbent pad breaks while wearing, making the sagging worse and leaving a good-size area without as much absorbency. Plus it looked weird. Not horrible negatives and I still used them all without getting frustrated and damning their existence, as has happened with other brands. Overall, I liked the diapers, as did M2 and A. I would use them again and suggest them to others if you've got a Walgreens nearby.

On a non-diaper related note, things have been super crazy and busy lately, including a car accident. Hence, I haven't been posting as much. I promise an update post is coming soon!