Momup! Monday…Mommy’s Thanksgiving Meltdown

I am making my first Thanksgiving meal this year for my immediate family and my in-laws, and I am so nervous.  Of course there are the typical, run of the mill Thanksgiving concerns that consume my mind such as; will the turkey be cooked all the way?  Will the side dishes meet our guests’ expectations? Will we have enough seats?  Where should we keep the dog and cat so that they do not get a head start on thanksgiving? Will the house be cleaned in time?  Will my husband actually help?  He said he would help, but what does that mean? Does that mean he will take out the trash and disappear for a few hours, or suddenly have to run an important errand?…  What about the kiddos?…. What kind of activities can I plan to occupy them while I prepare the meal? But my biggest conern and fear is of a mommy meltdowns, all-be-it short-lived, but still, a meltdown no less.

I have such fond memories of Thanksgiving as a child.  I remember waking up Thanksgiving morning to the amazing aromas lingering from the kitchen.  My sister, brother, and I would help out in the kitchen doing age appropriate tasks, we would help set the table, and tidy the house while the Thanksgiving parade played in the background. Thanksgivings when I was a child brought about so many fond memories but there is one moment, every thanksgiving, which would inevitably show its face, the minor mommy meltdown.

The mommy meltdown usually showed its face two hours before guest arrived.  As a mom myself, I have such an appreciation for all the hard work my mother would do to make Thanksgiving such an amazing event for our family and friends (my mother is definitely the more the merrier type, so it wasn’t, and isn’t, unusual to have at least 40 people for thanksgiving). She would stay up late the night before preparing the tables, chair, tablecloths, napkins, food, and outfits for her children, vacuuming, sweeping, etc. She would get up early Thanksgiving morning and continue where she left off, not showering, or getting herself ready, until the last-minute. Inevitably one of us, my sister, brother, father, or I, would make a snarky remark that would usually trigger the mommy meltdown. Similar to the following clip.

So, my biggest fear isn’t burning the turkey, or if the potatoes have lumps, it is the mommy meltdown, and when it will show its snide face. I plan on taking all precautions by planning every last detail ahead of time, but life happens. Sometimes our expectations become to grandiose.

Have you ever experienced a Mommy Thanksgiving meltdown, where the mom hosting Thanksgiving just takes on too much? Are you a mom that has taken on too much? Perhaps you are a mom who has figured out the balance, please, share your secrets!

Frivolous Friday…love, good intentions, and Betty Crocker

Last night I had a tough time falling asleep; my mind was all over the place.  The last thing I remember thinking about was our 30 days of gratitude and whether the purpose was truly being understood by the children?

In a blink it was morning. Due to my lack of sleep the night before my brain was running on automatic mode and started on the usual Friday routine.  The problem was, today was not a usual Friday. The kiddos were home from school due to parent teacher conferences. Thankfully I did not drop off any children at school.  Truth be told, that has always been a fear of mine that I would mindlessly drop off the wrong child at the wrong place, or visa versa. Thankfully after referencing my planner and enjoying a cup of coffee the plans for the day all came back to me.

Two weeks prior I had made arrangements with a friend to watch her son while she ran errands.  I had totally forgotten and did nothing last night to prepare for today. I glanced up from my coffee cup at the shambles of random stuff spread throughout the house, wowzers! What a mess, that clutter called for a laundry basket brigade.  Now, this is my best kept secret, well, not for long. When there are way too many random toys, puzzle parts and pieces, garments, and nonsense scattered around the house I grab a laundry basket and throw everything in the basket. Place that basket in a room that is off-limits and address it after guests have left. Voila, clean house!

Just as I placed the basket in my closet the door bell rang.  The kiddos started off playing with toys, which lasted for all of twenty minutes, and then they started inquiring about a snack.  Snacks!  Again, when I am functioning with a full deck I usually have snacks made the day before and I am totally prepared.  This time was not one of those time but I got by with a little help from my friend Betty, Betty Crocker that is.  Chocolate chip cookies pouch to the rescue! I would like to say, thank you Betty Crocker for allowing moms to maintain their crazy buys schedules and still be cool in the eyes of their children. The kiddos loved the cookies and they had no idea I did not get the mixer out and add all the necessary ingredients, love, good intentions, and Betty Crocker is all you need.

Thank you Betty, I couldn’t do it without you.

With the snack out-of-the-way I thought I was out of the woods….not so fast.  With chocolate all over her face, my daughter asked if we could do a craft.  A Craft!?! Sure I exclaimed as I started googling craft ideas. I came across a cool website, http://www.makinglearningfun.com/. On the site I found templates for Pilgrims and Native American.  I printed off the templates and let the kiddos raid the craft drawers. While working on their craft my son became impatient and his friend helped him with his pilgrims.  With that my daughter exclaimed that their friend was expressing a gratitude attitude, it was priceless. They are listening and comprehending the purpose of the 30 days of gratitude. That made this moms day.

They so enjoyed this unplanned craft
I love the eyes and pink clothes; they each added their own unique touches to their stick people.

Thankful Thursday…..Rice Krispies treats, the treats that keep on giving

Thankful Thursday…..

I initially introduced the 30 days of gratitude to my family in hopes of teaching my children the importance of appreciation through simple acts of kindness each day. However, what was meant to be something minute has evolved into so much more.  The acts of kindness have fostered quality time with loved ones, comforting conversations with friends and acquaintances, and magnificent memories.

Rice Krispies Treats, the treats that keep on giving….

Monday afternoon I found myself pressed for time, as usual.  So I threw the kiddos pajamas, diapers, cups, box of Rice Krispies, bag of marshmallows, stick of butter, wooden sticks, bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips, sprinkles, wax paper, and my book for book club into a laundry basket. I  put this kiddos in the car, picked up my daughter from school and headed to my mother’s.  We have dinner at my mom’s on Mondays; it has slowly become a tradition in our family, which works out great to because I have book club every other Monday.  So, we got to my moms and I started making Rice Krispies for my preschoolers snack box and the bake sale the next day to raise money for Special Olympics.  I formed them into balls and placed them on wooden sticks, way easy.  Then my mom got home from work and she started helping me melt the chocolate while we enjoyed conversation about our day.  We had the perfect consistency and started dipping the treats in the chocolate at which point the kiddos wanted to get involved too, so each took turns sprinkling the sprinkles on the freshly dipped Rice Krispies treat. Half way through we realized we were not going to have enough chocolate for all the treats.  Just then, as if on queue, my father came home from work and made a b-line for their leftover Halloween candy.  BINGO! My father and mother began unwrapping Nestle crunch bars like it was their job while I stirred the chocolate and the kiddos stood by with sprinkles in hand.  It had become a family affair, no longer was it just a task to check off, it had transformed into a family memory.

After book club my father helped me wrap the dozens of Rice Krispies Treats and we placed the necessary amount in my preschooler’s snack box and the rest were ready for the bake sale the next day.

The next day we dropped off the snack box, along with my preschool, at school.  When we picked him up the teacher said the Rice Krispies Treats on a stick were a hit. Thanks goodness, I was a little concerned since we invented the last batch via Halloween Candy.  I was also a little concerned that the teacher might be upset with our choice of snack given that it was picture day (looking back, it was a bad choice on my part but he was so excited to take in somthing on a stick).

Rice Krispies treats on a stick dipped in Nestle Crunch Bars, delicious!!

After I picked him up from school we were off to vote.  He had some leftover Rice Krispies Treats on a stick and asked if he could give them to people inside.  I thought it was such a kind gesture.  So we headed inside to vote and he passed out Rice Krispies Treats on a stick to the individuals volunteering.  Our neighbor happened to be volunteering at the time and my son made certain he received two.

After we voted it was time to drop off the initial Rice Krispies Treats on a stick for the bake sale to support the Special Olympics. We dropped off our Treats, the kiddos each picked out another baked-good, and we donated to the cause.  I am not sure who purchased the Rice Krispies Treats that we had made the Monday night at my moms but I do know that those Treats brought about much happiness and illustrated our gratitude towards our family, friends, and neighbors.

Recipe for Nestle Crunch Rice Krispies treats on a stick

  • 3 tablespoons butter melted
  • 1 bag of large marshmallows
  • 4 cups Love
  • 6 Cups Rice Krispies Cereal
  • ½ cup gratitude
  • Package of wooden sticks
  • 1 tablespoon of panic (when you realize you are running out of chocolate chips)
  • 1 cup relief (when you realize there is Halloween candy, Nestle crunch to the rescue!)
  • 1 bag of fun sized Nestle crunch bars

Directions:

In a large sauce pan melt butter and add marshmallows. Stir constantly till both have melted, remove from heat, and add Rice Krispies.  Spray measuring cup and/or spoon with cooking spray and divide into portion sizes.  Spray hands with cooking spray and form the portions into balls.  Place wooden stick into the ball and let cool for 15 minutes. While the Krispies treats are cooling you can begin to melt the Crunch bars.   You will want to use a double boiler so that the chocolate doesn’t burn.  Once the bars are melted grab a treat, holding it by the stick, and quickly dip it in the chocolate and then sit it on wax paper or foil to cool.
Please note: if you leave the treat in the chocolate to long it will melt the marshmallows again.  To expedite the process you can place them in the refrigerator for a little while till the chocolate cools.

Tuesday’s Tribute to my Treasures

As a mom we are always telling our children to, share, respect one another, communicate “work it out”, in hopes of cementing that sibling bond that will last a lifetime.  I also think as mothers we pray that we have given our children the necessary social skills, morals, and values and beliefs, which will last the tests of time. So that one day when we are no longer on this planet they can look after each other.

My amazing siblings, our bond is strong. I hope I can do at least half as well as my mom did instilling the importance of family and faith.

Little did I know at the beginning of last week that I would have the opportunity to experience both the cemented sibling bond, as well as the overwhelming feeling that takes over a mother when they remember they are mortal?

Long story short…..

It all started three weeks ago when my daughter was diagnosed with strep throat. She took her meds and was back to herself in no time!  A week later my throat started to hurt, so like any mom I figured I would save some time and try over-the-counter meds first but nothing helped.  So I contacted my doctor last week and explained the situation.  She called in a script, I picked, it up, and I was looking forward to some relief. By Wednesday my throat was worse, the side of my neck was so swollen it looked like I had a goiter, I was practically choking on the uvula in the back of my throat, I could not open my mouth all the way, and I thought I was experiencing hot flashes between my fever and chills.  I knew this was not normal, I have had strep before, and it usually subsided within 5-8 days, and even faster once you take the meds. There was no relief and my body was slowing down which wasn’t good since mom is the machine that keeps this family running.   So the Doctor made an exception and got me by means of triple booking appointments for Wednesday.

My poor brother walked into my home in shambles, hurricane Toddler hit!

I went in to see her and she basically said what I was experiencing was “normal” for strep throat”.  My gut told me this wasn’t normal and I inquired if there was any other possible prognosis she could think of but, again, she reassured me this was normal.  So, I went home and figured I just needed to suck it up for a few more days.  My husband also reassured me that what I was experiencing sounded like normal strep throat symptoms. Well, come Friday I could not swallow, I was drooling, my voice sounded muffled (when I could talk), there was so much swelling in my mouth that my tongue started to ache, and it felt like my body was shutting down.  I could not do a thing Friday, the house was in shambles, my toddler had pulled things out of drawers, dumped toys everywhere, dirty clothes were piled up, and it was a sad picture.   That evening my mom called and as soon as she heard my muffled, underwater like voice she told me to get to the hospital. At that point I had endured so much, and even though I hate hospitals the visit sounded like relief.

Kind of short…….

This is when that cemented sibling bond that moms so desperate hope to instill in their children really comes in handy.  God bless my little brother.  On a Friday night he put his own personal plans to go out on a date and hang with friends’ aside, without a second thought, and came over to my messy home and watched all three of my children.  I gave him no instructions, no ideas what to do with the kiddos and he did not ask.  He said they would be fine and we left.

Diagnosis…..

Once at the urgent care the nurse did a throat culture and I no longer had Strep. The doctor came in and within a minute explained that I had Peritonsillar abscess. Peritonsillar abscess is a complication of tonsillitis and is most often caused by a type of bacteria called group A beta-hemolytic streptococcus. She explained that this is serious and a medical emergency.  The abscess could rupture into my throat and block my airway and/or spread infection further. So she gave me a steroid shot, right then and there, and prescribed a heavy antibiotic and four more days of steroid pills.  I left that room with a huge smile on my face or at least a goofy sideways grin, relief was in my future!

I never took my eyes off of them

My Treasures…..

It wasn’t until the next day that the severity of the event truly hit me. It was during family movie night.  We watched Inspector Gadget and ate pizza.  I could not tell you one thing about that movie but I can describe each of my children’s expressions while they watched the movie.  I never took my eyes off of them; I realized how close to not being here I was.  The thoughts of who would take care of my babies, who would kiss their boo-boos, who would say their prayers at night, etc. consumed my mind.  I am the mommy.  I want to always be their mommy. I want to always be HERE for them.  I prayed long and hard that night.  I thanked God for entrusting those three little souls into my care, for giving me the opportunity to give life and for my life, I LOVE my life and I want to keep it. And most of all I thanked God for my treasures….the people…my husband, mother father, sister, brother, chidlren, in-laws, friends, etc. because when all is said and done it will be the memories we take with us.

They make my heart skip a beat….
The air I breathe....
My life....

One day I will be gone but I can sleep easier
knowing they have each other.

Momup! Monday…Pregnant mom steals sandwich

Mama’s to do List:

  • Morning drop off
  • Hunt down my cell phone (toddler put it somewhere, she probably called a few friends in the process, darn she is sneaky)
  • Go shopping for eldest daughter’s b-day party -Enchanted Princesses and Knight Party
  • Make Rice Crispy Balls on a stick for the Bake Sale (I realize that doesn’t sound appropriate for children but they are easy to make and kiddos love them)
  • Momup! Moment
  • Get gas
  • Laundry
  • Book Club can’t wait!!!

This week’s Momup! Topic:  Pregnant mother accused of stealing

Please view the clip.

I was shocked when I heard about this story.  I know I personally can’t take a single trip to the grocery store without opening one, if not three, different types of snack foods to occupy my toddler (she likes to play with the teddy bear, fish, and a various shaped snacks).  And yes, as moms we do sometimes become distracted while at the store but who could blame us.  Half the time one child is constantly inquiring about placing some item in the cart (and often lucks out and sneaks one in unbeknownst to mom), the other has to go to the bathroom (my son always has to have a BM at the grocery store, I don’t understand it), the toddler will not sit still, we are trying to mentally tally the total as each item is placed in the cart in hopes of staying under the budget, and keeping track of the items we still need to place in the cart all at the same time.  What mother wouldn’t forget about the coffee or sandwich she had 3 meltdowns, one BM, and 100 “mommy can we get this?” ago when she entered the store?

Also, when I was pregnant, especially towards the end of my pregnancies I would begin to feel faint and almost ill if I did not eat something soon. I am just shocked that the store could not have been more understanding.  The woman even offered to pay for the sandwich when they were escorted back into the store.  It was obvious they were not trying to steal. My heart goes out to this little girl. Can you even imagine how scared she was? One minute she is safe in the comforts of mom and dad’s care and the next she is with strangers, in a strange place, not knowing what was going on all because of a sandwich!

What are you thoughts? Have you ever opened food in the store and forgotten about it? Do you suffer from the distracted mom syndrome when you enter the grocery store with your kiddos in tow? Please share.

Clipping for causes from the confines of my couch

Since I still have this darn sore throat and no energy (I don’t remember it being this annoying as a child, it was all missing school and eating popsicles) I am kicking it on the couch. I know that I will have a lot of laundry and other household chores to catch-up on once I feel better. So I have been trying to get as much accomplished from the confines of the couch as possible.  Today I am clipping coupons and preparing our trip to the grocery store which should have been yesterday but I am praying I feel better tomorrow.  My dear husband has offered to go to the grocery store for me but I know that is not the best idea.  Last time he went he lost the list and came home with tons of sugary cereals and a tub, yes, I said tub, of Superman Ice cream.  I would probably have better luck letting my 4 year-old son do the shopping.  Hopefully I will feel better tomorrow and the task of grocery shopping will not fall on the dynamic duo (my hubby and son), I do not want frosted flakes with a side of Superman ice cream for the next 14 days.

So, on with the show…..before each shopping trip I review my coupon binder.  I remove all expired coupons and send those to, overseas military members. They can use expired coupons up to six months past their expiration date. Since most military families
stationed overseas often live on one income coupons help stretch their funds further.

Eligible Coupons:

  • ONLY Manufacturer Coupons
  • Coupons must be Clipped and Sorted into Food and Non-food (see website for more info).
  • Do NOT send coupons that are over 30 days expired.

Click on the link to read more…http://www.ocpnet.org/

After all the expired coupons have been removed I then reference the weekly ad, as well as the local charities and shelters we donate goods to. Sound like a lot of work? It doesn’t have to be.

 

Donating done easy

I realize most moms always have the best intentions of donating to a charity on a regular basis but it can be difficult, life gets in the way. Also with the current state of the economy most families are on a strict budget leaving little room for charities but it can be done.  After some trial and error we have adopted a foolproof method for collecting items for our local charities at a fraction of the price and you can too with these simple steps.

  1. Purchase a bin; you can decide what size works best based on how many items you will be donating and how frequently you will donate. (I have a small one I keep in my pantry and a larger one in the basement to place the items when the smaller bin is full).
  2. Print off the charities wish list
  3. Tape that wish list on the inside lid of bin.
  4. Before a trip to the grocery store reference the list with the weekly ad, note if any items are on sale, then take it a step further, clip for the cause, check your coupons to see if you have any for the items that are listed. Write those items down, grab the coupons, and hit the road.
  5. When you get home place those items in the bin.  I like to have my conveniently placed in the pantry but you can decide what location works best for you.
  6. Then, determine a day that you will designate as donation day and drive to the charity and drop off your donation.  I often wait till I have a large bin to donate, usually every other month.

Once you are in the habit of referencing the charity’s list prior to a grocery trip donating can become second nature and thanks to the weekly deals and coupons the items cost mere pennies.

Learning Opportunity

Whenever possible be certain to share what you are doing with your children.  Have your children help clip the coupons, kiddos can be the best clippers. Take them to the grocery store with you and when possible, have your children go with you to donate the
goods.

If you are not a coupon clipper, and not interested in keeping a wish list and bins, you can still give back.  Checkout your local grocery store’s shopping card options, most have options on their websites where you can select a charity and they will donate a
% to that selected charity each time your shop at no cost to you. For full details and instructions on the Kroger’s chopping card, click on the link. http://www.kroger.com/mykroger/Pages/community_rewards.aspx

Do you have a tip to share that has helped your grocery shopping experience? Do tell.

Thankful Thursday….30 days of Gratitude Update

Blogging from Bed today, it feels like my tonsil has taken over half of my head, crazy swollen gland.  But I am still living a Thankful Thursday and in honor of Thankful Thursday I will update you on our families 30 days of gratitude. Granted, it is only day 3 of the month so I do not have much to update you on but we have illustrated acts of kindness through the following activities;

The children each donated half of their Halloween candy to Make a Wish foundation.  There is a teacher at my daughter’s school who collected the candy for Make a Wish Foundation.

The kiddos made thank you cards for their grandparents, thanking them for the fun Halloween treats.  While the kiddos made their thank you cards I made good egg awards for them.  Our house is on the market and we recently had a showing for our house and the kiddos were amazing.  They helped by cleaning their rooms, watching their little sister, and being all around great listeners.  So, in their good egg awards I have included a coupon for each of them.

One of the coupons is for a video of your choice, or in this house, a Netflix movie of your choice (this is kind of a big deal come family movie night). The other coupon, for my eldest, is good for staying up an extra hour past her bedtime (which I might be looking more forward to then she is, it will be nice to have time with her while the others are in bed, like old times).

Love Coupons for Kids

Coupons for Kids

 

 

 

 

 

I have a booklet of coupons in mommy’s secret hiding place (top shelf of the pantry) and I like to hand out a coupon at least twice a
month to the children.  It is important that we reward our children and acknowledge good behavior.  It seems like far too often parents focus on the bad behavior and spurt out unnecessary names such as “Brat”.  It is just as important to focus on the good.

This evening we plan on calling family that lives long distance but given the current state of my throat I have a feeling I will not
be doing much talking.  God is helping me become a better listener (life, forever a learning experience).