How to Let Your Kids Help In 34 Simple Steps
28th July 2014

Recently, I had to clean out a refrigerator. I’m not talking about tossing the gross rotting food out that you found in the back, I’m talking deep clean a refrigerator because I was selling it to someone else.

The fridge was already moved out into my driveway, so I thought it might be a fun project for the kids and I. It wasn’t until I uttered the words, “I’m going outside to clean the old fridge…who wants to help?” and I heard three very enthusiastic “ME!!!”‘s that I had a feeling that things wouldn’t go quite like I envisioned them.

You see, it was 5 pm. I had been running ragged all week, and it was dinner time. The time was mistake #1. You’d think I was new to this whole parenting thing or something. Mistake #2 was thinking that using the hose would be a good idea. Mistake #3? It was already pushing 97 degrees outside and, of course, it was the hottest part of the day. So, we had fatigue, hunger, water, and heat. And three eager little people.

I realized in this process that having kids “help” you with a project that is really meant for adults is almost always a mistake and will almost always end up in somebody crying. Luckily, this time it wasn’t me.

How to Let Your Kids Help. {In 34 Simple Steps}

How to let your kids help in 34 Simple Steps.

  • 1. Offer to let them help.
  • 2. Do not expect actual help.
  • 3. Get the necessary equipment for helping. Each child needs their OWN rag, water bottle, and bucket of bubbles. Sharing is not possible.
  • 4.  Remind them each that they have their own equipment and not to touch their siblings cleaning tools.
  • 5. Begin. This is the fun, exciting part that will last for about 2.3 seconds.
  • 6. Refill the buckets of water.
  • 7. Tell them it’s OK when they decide to “wash” the car instead of the task at hand.
  • 8. Remind them gently not to use the black rag they buried in the dirt to “clean” the actual thing you started cleaning.
  • 9. Refill the buckets of water.
  • 10. Tell them more forcefully that they are no longer allowed to touch the item you are cleaning.
  • 11. Finally give in to the two year old who wants to control the hose.
  • 12. Deep breathe after he sprays you with it.
  • 13. Refill the buckets of water.
  • 14.Teach the 2 year old which direction to point the hose.
  • 15. Wait for him to spray you again.
  • 16. Refill the buckets of water.
  • 17. Take away the hose.
  • 18. Let him throw a temper tantrum and fall to the ground.
  • 19. Give him the hose back.
  • 20. Say “But, you said you were going to help me!” when the older two kids say they are going back inside to play video games.
  • 21. Tell your toddler to wash the car. Maybe that will distract him for a minute.
  • 22. Sweat profusely and wonder how bad it would be to just sell the fridge dirty. That green goo in the back doesn’t look that bad does it? Is that fuzz?
  • 23. Take away the hose from the toddler when he starts a puddle of mud by your feet.
  • 24. Let him cry.
  • 25. Keep cleaning and try to ignore his cry.
  • 26. Tell the neighbors he’s OK when they come to see why there is a 2 year old crying, “DAAAADDY” over and over again on the front porch.
  • 27. Speed up your cleaning and sweat some more.
  • 28. Explain to the toddler that Daddy is still at work, so will he please stop crying?
  • 29. Blame your husband for the whole scenario even though none of it is his fault.
  • 30. Strip the two year old down who is now shivering and crying in wet clothes.
  • 31. Keep cleaning in a puddle of water, and hope that no one notices how stinky you are.
  • 32. Put the crying toddler inside.
  • 33. Enjoy your peace and quiet, and finish the job. Alone.
  • 34. Remind yourself to never do this again. Even though, you most likely will anyway.

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This is a parenting blog hop. What are you thinking about this week? Link them up so we can visit each other and hear about what’s going on in YOUR parenting world.

Going to join us? Here are the “rules” (Feel free to follow them loosely):

1. Add your link below

2. Grab MY button found below and add it to your post or sidebar, and then come back and link up with us here. It’s that easy! I’ll try to promote your post on social media by pinning, tweeting, and sharing.

3. Visit the other awesome bloggers that are also linking up and leave comments on their posts!

 Perfection Pending

Getting Out of My Own Head. The Reasons I Write.
22nd July 2014

In some ways, I felt like that nerdy girl in middle school (because I totally was that girl) that got invited to the popular girl’s party. When Emily from Girl Always Interrupted asked me if I wanted to participate in a blog tour with her and some other awesome mom bloggers that have written books and stuff, I was floored. Me? Of course, I said yes faster than a wallflower getting asked to dance at the school dance.

3980770If you don’t know Emily, then you are missing out. She has been featured everywhere you want to be featured, Freshly Pressed, and on Scary Mommy a few times. So, of course, she’s pretty amazing, and her writing doesn’t disappoint. Her post 15 Things Experienced Moms Really Want to Say to New Moms is so spot on, it made me want to be her best friend.

I love hearing why other bloggers write, and her post is so similar to how I feel about writing. But, it’s her posts like What to Expect When You Expect Goodnight makes you feel like you aren’t the only parent that feels a little crazy sometimes. In other words, she’s real and normal, and awesome.

I hope you’ll check out her blog, because trust me, you don’t want to miss out.

Now, on to her questions….

Why do I write?

This question has no simple answer for me. I write for my therapy. I write because it makes me happy. I write because I feel physically compelled to do so. I write to stop time. In fact, I’ve written a lot about why I write in the past. But, when I REALLY analyze it, I think I write because I just need it. I need it like I need that diet coke in the middle of the day to make it through the remaining long hours until bedtime. I write because it helps me feel less stuck in my own freaking head.

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I write, because frankly, I’m a better mom when I’m over-analyzing my life in words.

What does my writing process look like?

I was never a “writer” per se growing up. I was hit and miss on journaling, but I was an avid reader. So, I like to tell myself I was studying writing for 30 years before I decided to actually start writing in 2007. However, I could whip out a paper in high school and college in minutes it seemed and get an A on it every time. So it was always in there, but I didn’t realize the compulsion for it until I became a stay at home mom. Now my writing process is mostly off the cuff, and a little rushed.

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I have ideas and I jot them down, and 50% of them are crap when I finally get around to writing them. I love to write in the heat of an incident with my children, but I’ve learned in 7 years that those initial feelings aren’t always what I want to preserve on paper forever. Sometimes it is the more reflective feelings after the fact that have true, deep meaning that I want to cherish.

Why am I different than other writers?

This is hard for me to answer because sometimes I just feel so damn insignificant. But, the thing I’ve heard over and over from my readers is that they can really relate to what I write. The good, the bad, the funny, and definitely the ugly. I like to think that I’m unique because I’m not afraid to share my insecurities, and my flaws, and the uglier sides of parenting. But, I ALWAYS reflect and try to learn from my own writing in the hopes that it will help someone else learn too.

What am I working on?

I’m assuming that this question is supposed to point to my upcoming job as a HuffPost editor, or my secret novel that is going to be published this fall. But, since those two only exist in my fantasy world, I’ll say I’m working on blogging in a more relaxed way. I used to feel the pressure to blog every day, but now I’m working on letting things stew and simmer so that I can write good quality stuff.  I will say that I’m thrilled to be published on Scary Mommy next month! And, I’m always working on trying not to be so yell-y with my kids and finding time to engage with them more. That’s my most important job.

Who’s next?

Jen Groeber from Mama Art

img_4502-e1380574178587Jen started popping up a  while back and commenting on my blog, and when I finally got around to checking hers out (sorry it took me so long, Jen!), I was hooked. I have a confession. I am a skimmer. Sometimes I don’t read every word of blog posts, but her blog is one of those that I like to read every. single. word. Her writing captivates me, and sends me back into her childhood effortlessly.

You must read her post, My Mother’s Letters which got her Freshly Pressed (along with this one…yep, she’s been FP’d twice) But some of my favorite posts are about her relationship with her mentally retarded brother, Butchie, which will make you wish you had a brother like hers. Those posts tug at my heart and make me love her even more.

But, she’s also an amazing mom who had 4 kids in 3 years (crazy, right?), and manages to write about it in a way that is laugh out loud funny while also being thoughtful. I love her post, I Don’t Like 7-Year-Old Boys and Other Zen Thoughts. Doesn’t that title make you want to click over? It should. Jen, I’m so glad that you’re up next week. I can’t wait to hear what makes you want to write.

Parenting Milestone #21. When Your Child Says, I Hate You
21st July 2014

We were in a frenzy to get out the door as usual. Of course I was running late, because….I have 3 kids.

Two were in the car, or meandering around in the yard. I wasn’t sure because the middle child couldn’t find his shoes. I was inside trying to deep breath through the shoe routine.

I’ll be honest, I am not always patient with this charade. “I can’t find them!” pretty much hits their lips as soon as I say, “get your shoes on so we can go.” But, in this particular case, I did at least see the 5 year old attempt to walk through each room and “look” for them. But, we all know that when a 5 year old looks somewhere, it’s about the same as when the husband looks. They glance. Sort of.

So as he’s glancing (aka “looking) around each room and crying because he can’t find his shoes, I proceed to lose my cool. Whatever grace and patience was left in me had suddenly evaporated and I became scary mommy. I got down low at his eye level and told him he better find his shoes or I was going to lose it.

Of course, it was clear to us all that I had already lost it.

As he turned his back to me, I heard 3 words no parent wants to hear, and 3 words I thought maybe, just maybe I would never hear.

“I hate you”

I whipped my head around like something out of the exorcist. “What did you say?!” I asked in sincere shock that one of my children could utter those words.

He immediately started to cry. And proceeded to cry as I did the only thing I could think to do in this scenario. Force him to say it again.

I threatened that he would lose his play date as we drove his older sister to hers. He cried and cried and cried while I tried to hold back my own tears. “Just tell me what you said and you can still go to your friend’s house”

“OK, once I turn here, your time is up.”

“It’s better if you just say it.”

“Why won’t you just tell me?”

I said all I could say and he obviously wasn’t giving it up again. He knew better. He obviously knew it was wrong. But, my threats had to be enforced. He didn’t get his play date, and he finally admitted that what I knew I had heard was true.

I sent him downstairs for quiet time, put his brother down for a nap, and called my husband to sob like a baby. “He said I hate you. I am failing as a mother. I don’t know what to do. blah blah blah.” The knife to the heart was real in that moment, and I just needed a moment to cry.

After regaining my composure and some of my dignity, I sat him down and tried to explain that I hate you is the opposite of I love you, and I hope he never says that again, because even when I’m mad at him, I would never EVER say that to him.

And, then we moved on with our day. I got a few more hugs than usual, and I eventually got over the fact that my kids were, in fact, normal.

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So, as heart wrenching as this was, I learned a few things in the process.

1. Parenting sucks

2. My kids are normal

3. Expect at least one child to do what you thought they never would.

4. I’m doing my job as a parent.

5. I am no different than every other mother out there.

6. Crying helps.

7. So does chocolate.

I pray that you never hear those 3 ugly words, but if you’re a parent, my guess is you probably will.

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This is a parenting blog hop. What are you thinking about this week? Link them up so we can visit each other and hear about what’s going on in YOUR parenting world.

Going to join us? Here are the “rules” (Feel free to follow them loosely):

1. Add your link below

2. Grab MY button found below and add it to your post or sidebar, and then come back and link up with us here. It’s that easy! I’ll try to promote your post on social media by pinning, tweeting, and sharing.

3. Visit the other awesome bloggers that are also linking up and leave comments on their posts!

 Perfection Pending

Leading with a Brave Heart
19th July 2014

This post today made me cry. Maybe I’m hormonal, or maybe I can just relate to watching your child feel truly, genuinely sad. Kerry has been a long-time blogger friend of mine, and she and her family went through a trial in their life recently that I’m sure changed them forever. She shares about how she had to be brave when her child was feeling sad. How many times have we had to hide our own sadness to be strong for our children? Make sure when you are done reading her post that you stop by her awesome blog, Winding Road. She shares all kinds of amazing ideas and thoughts on living a more meaningful life, and her posts are always thought-provoking. If you want to be part of my Be Brave Guest Post Series, go here.

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The realization finally hit my daughter, one month after the flood, that we were not going back home. The night before the flood, everything was status quo. We put them to bed and bid them sweet dreams. Then at 4:30am, we scooped them out of bed in the dark and waded through knee-deep water in the pouring rain to our flooded van that drove to their grandmother’s house only minutes away. That was the last time they were inside their home. And she wanted to go back and could not understand why we were not. Up until that moment, sitting at the dining room table one month later, I think she thought it all a big adventure and something exciting to tell her friends. She did not realize what it all meant, until something clicked in her mind as her father and I continued our daily conversation of housing options.

Her fork went down and the sobs began, real sobs, take your breath away sobs; tears that reflected such deep sadness and pain. She was experiencing what I had felt many times over the last few weeks and I knew how painful it was. Yet, the pain came rushing back to me again in a torrent watching it happen to my young child. I could feel the pain begin again inside of me because I wanted to give her everything she needed, to say we would go back and all would be as it should. I wanted to cradle her innocence and shield her from the devastation. I wanted her life to continue to be pristine with a home she could spend her whole childhood and keep the memories close.

But I could not lie; I could not make it all better. I had to be honest, but more importantly, I had to allow her to feel her sadness fully because feeling it is the only way we can truly move forward. I did not say much other than, “it is going to be okay. It is okay to feel sad but our home is where our family is”. I needed her to know that this was not something we were taking away from her so I told her, “I have cried about this many times, babe. I don’t want this either. It’s not fair” A light bulb look came across her eyes in realization that even mommy gets sad and this is something even mommy can’t fix.

My son had a hard time in the first couple of weeks. He is almost three and was most stricken by his routines being turned upside down. He said many times in the first few days that he wanted to go home, asked if our house was still wet, told me to go clean it. He misbehaved and lashed out. It was painful to watch him suffer because he could not understand any of it. But he quickly adjusted and rarely asks about our “wet house” anymore.

I kept those tears inside that night at the dinner table though because even though I told her I had them, if I let them out again, they would come in a storm of sobs and that is not what she needed. She needed to know that her parents are taking care of things, that we are solid, that we are sad but not broken and all will be okay. Because it will. I can be brave for my children because I can feel their pain. I understand their hurts and have felt them deeply myself. I can be brave because I know that I can cry later but in the moments with them, I have to guide them and be their support because they depend on me.

The next day, I ordered two children’s books about moving to a new home. One was perfect because it was about a badger family who moved because their home had leaks. When the books arrived, my daughter was eager to hear the stories. We read them at bedtime and when they were finished, she asked excitedly, “When do we move into our new house?”

Children are so very resilient. So many wonderful lessons can be learned from a child. They feel their emotions completely but they do not dwell on them. They move forward because they have their parents to lead them in a healthy direction. They trust us and feel secure that we know what we are doing. Empathy and trust help me to be brave; to plow forward knowing that all will be okay because my children teach me courage in their resilience. My job is to lead them and I will do so with a brave heart for nothing is more important than guiding them on the right path to follow.

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Easy One Pan Jambalaya
16th July 2014

This recipe is one that I found in a family cookbook when we were newlyweds. It has been a staple ever since. This recipe is quick, cheap, easy, and only uses one pan to make it.

When I hear the word Jambalaya, I think of something spicy and foreign. Now, this is NOT a true Jambalaya, but I would call it the poor man’s Jambalaya because I think it’s one of those recipes that was born out of necessity in a family with 8 children. My Father in Law’s. His mom made this all the time.

Easy One Pan Jambalaya. Not too spicy, and uses ingredients you always have on hand! You can make this recipe in 30 minutes.

 

But, on nights when you forgot to make dinner until 5:30 (which is just about every night for me) then this recipe is one that you can pull out and throw together quickly.

Easy One Pan Jambalaya. Not to spicy and a perfect meal you can throw together at the last minute.

Easy One Pan Jambalaya

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ground beef (or turkey)
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/3 cup green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 clove fresh minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/8 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 1 can tomato soup
  • 1 1/2 can water
  • 1 cup uncooked rice

Brown ground beef in a large saucepan. Add all remaining ingredients. Stril well. Cover with tight lid and when it is boiling, turn down heat and simmer for 35 minutes.

That’s it! Super easy isn’t it?

 

The Me Do It Stage. Is it Ironic or Is It Just Me?
14th July 2014

We’re in a “Me do it” stage around my house. When you’re 2 1/2 years old, suddenly, you feel capable of everything. And crazy things suddenly seem like a good idea. At the tender age of 2 years old, you suddenly feel fully capable of so much like….

  • Going down stairs while holding 25 legos seems like a good idea.
  • Jumping on the picnic table outside while no one is paying attention seems smart.
  • Eating ants.

At two, it seems like my little guy thinks that he is the boss, and fully capable of…well, everything. Except, the irony is that they aren’t capable of anything you want them to be capable of like…

  • Eating a meal that is comprised of something other than mac and cheese (or its white carby equivalent)
  • Being slightly interested in potty training.
  • Keeping themselves from bodily harm.
  • Putting their shoes on.
  • Putting their sunglasses on right side up.
  • Putting any item of clothing on themselves. The right way.
  • Walking when you need them to. (Like when you thought, “We don’t need the stroller this time. He always wants to walk everywhere now”)
  • Holding an object without hurling it at a sibling.
  • Understanding when you tell them no ice cream is not an appropriate breakfast.
  • Watching something other than the most annoying children’s show.
  • Drinking or eating anything without spilling.
  • Keeping utensils, plates, or cups on the table.
  • Understanding that the sun was not put in his line of vision to torture him.
  • Eating something new.
  • Learning not to scream like a banshee in public.
  • Sharing.

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Here he is in Yellowstone National park crying because I wouldn’t let him climb on sharp jagged rocks next to a cliff. Poor little guy.

Obviously, we’re going through a little rough patch. I love that little guy so much. But, when he tells me things like “I have hard day” I can’t help but laugh and think, “You have no idea, kid” Maybe two year olds just love the irony of it all?

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This is a parenting blog hop. What are you thinking about this week? Link them up so we can visit each other and hear about what’s going on in YOUR parenting world.

Going to join us? Here are the “rules” (Feel free to follow them loosely):

1. Add your link below

2. Grab MY button found below and add it to your post or sidebar, and then come back and link up with us here. It’s that easy! I’ll try to promote your post on social media by pinning, tweeting, and sharing.

3. Visit the other awesome bloggers that are also linking up and leave comments on their posts!

 Perfection Pending

Bravery. It Isn’t Always About Saying Yes.
12th July 2014

I love this post by Megan from Meaningful Mommy. I can relate SO much to trying to be a people pleaser and worrying so much about other’s opinions of me. I’ve grown a lot as a mom and now that I have three kids, I worry about that a lot less. But, I’m still not perfect. I love how she learned this meaningful lesson from her daughter. Make sure you stop by her blog and check it out. It’s thought provoking, beautifully written, and she write about everything from being a mom, to travel, to gardening. And, I can tell that she really does try to find meaning in the big and little things. Don’t miss out! If you want to be part of my Be Brave Guest Post Series, go here.

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A few months ago I wrote ‘A Letter to My Daughter’ about an experience at swimming lessons where my daughter showed extreme bravery. I watched her from the side of the pool and she brought me to tears. That day I really saw her and her struggle to choose what felt right inside. I thought about the courage it took for her to admit her fear and make the choice she did. Her courage to tell her swim instructor and her mommy that she was afraid because what she was asked to do didn’t feel safe. I am still thinking about that day. I don’t want her to do anything that makes her feel afraid. Challenged, yes. Maybe a teensy bit nervous, sure. But afraid? No. That feeling inside when you just know something doesn’t feel right to you…I want her to keep connected to her intuition. That day at the pool the floor to ceiling water slide and my daughter taught me something huge about bravery.
Here is an excerpt from my letter

“You listened to your heart. You understand there are times to be brave and there are times to know your limits. That sometimes it takes even more bravery to not do something and to stand up for yourself………You didn’t lament the fact that you weren’t doing what the other kids were doing. You didn’t do something in fear because you were worried about my reaction or because you thought it was expected of you. It is this courageous act of bravery that makes me the most proud of you…..”

The Lesson My Daughter Taught Me About Bravery Through One Decision She Made at The Pool

My daughter listens to her heart. She showed me recently that this is what bravery can look like. I wish I was as confident in myself. I wish I had understood before that moment that bravery comes in many forms. Since becoming a mother I am often afraid. Afraid for my children’s safety as they challenge themselves to ride a bike or climb the tallest monkey bars. Afraid that I may be screwing up my role as mommy with every mistake. Afraid of what other moms may think of me if I don’t join the new ‘you’d do this if you want your kids to succeed’ trend. It’s time I took note of what I could should be learning from my daughter.

My daughter, so wise for her five years. She seems to know her limits. When to push herself and when to just say no. When to stand her ground no matter what. For herself. When I think about it almost all children are good at this. They challenge themselves (and us) trying new things daily. Sometimes we understand why they are doing this, them pushing limits and standing their ground, and other times we don’t. I think they do it because they haven’t lost their sense of self. They haven’t tried to mold in to any pre-conceived notions of how they ‘should be’. They are trying to safely build their personal character.

I have not been very good at that. I seem to say ‘yes’ often out of fear of some outside opinion. I should be saying ‘no’ out of respect to my heart. Bravery can be saying no just as often as it can be saying yes. I think that for some of us (including me) it may take more bravery to walk away when something isn’t working. To not do what ‘others’ are doing because it isn’t what’s right for ourselves or our family. Sometimes it’s more brave to stand outside of the pack. To go back and find that sense of self from childhood we may have pushed so far down it’s hard to hear any more.

I know as my daughter gets older, the more times she is brave by listening to her heart, by saying no, her confidence will grow. I know her confidence will also grow when she does challenge herself by saying yes, but there will be a balance. A balance of external and internal bravery that will make her a strong well-rounded woman. I know that by my respecting her decisions of when to push herself and when to back away will strengthen her self-esteem. I hope that every time I validate her feelings when she says she is not ready that I help her stay connected to her inner bravery. I hope it will be easier for her to continue to say no, when it will really matter, throughout her life. This of-course applies to situations that make her feel afraid or just icky inside (not when she doesn’t want to try a new vegetable). ;)

From now on I will try to be brave like my daughter. Externally and internally brave. Standing up for what feels right for myself and my children. Not worrying about what other mom’s (or anyone) may think of me. I know what may work for a family might not work for us and that it is perfectly okay to say so. We all have our own paths to travel, our personal journey ahead. I will be brave, blazing my own trail through life with my head held high. No longer afraid…

*Well, until the next time I see my daughter hanging upside down from the highest monkey bars, or when she learns to drive, or when she sets out on her own, and many, many times in-between…but hopefully both my girls will be brave and strong and only challenge themselves in ways that make them feel confident and safe. And I will be right there to support them.

When have you possibly been even more brave by listening to your heart and saying no?

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DSC_3863 (2)“A Meaningful Life is not being rich, being popular, being highly educated or being perfect. It Is about being real, being humble, being strong and being able to share ourselves and touch the lives of others. It Is only then that we could have a full, happy and contented life.” ~Unknown

I am a wearer of many hats…a mommy, wife, daughter, sister, friend, ex-teacher, stay-at-home mommy, wanna-be perfectionist but constant mistake maker trying to find a balance between being a mommy, being me and leading a meaningful life.

Asian Chicken Salad
9th July 2014

I love this recipe because it is so easy and it’s the perfect light dinner for summer. But, in all honesty, there is no reason why you can’t make it whenever you want.

Asian Chicken Salad with Ramen and Sunflower Seeds

And, you know what else? It gets my kids to eat cabbage. Yep, you read that right. C-A-B-B-A-G-E. My two year old didn’t go for it, but as we all know, he doesn’t each much of anything that is, of course, unless it’s served with a spork at Costco. Sigh.

But, back to the recipe. This is one that makes a lot, so I think it would be perfect for a baby shower, or party, or anytime you’re asked to bring the salad to something. But, it’s super yummy just for a light dinner at home too. And, my kids LOVE that it uses ramen noodles. What kid doesn’t love ramen?

So, here it is:

Asian Chicken Salad. The Perfect Light Dinner for Summer

Asian Chicken Salad

Ingredients

  • For the Salad:
  • 1 head cabbage, shredded (Or packaged for coleslaw is quicker, use 1 1/2 small bags)
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • 2 pkg. Ramen Noodles broken up (set seasoning aside)
  • 1/2 C. Slivered Almonds
  • 1/2 C. Sunflower Seeds
  • 2 Cups Cubed Cooked Chicken
  • For The Dressing:
  • 1 C. Vegetable Oil
  • 1/2 C. Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 C. Sugar
  • 2 tsp. soy sauce
  • 2 packets ramen noodle seasoning (chicken flavor)

Asian Chicken Salad. A perfect light summer dinner with cabbage, ramen noodles, sunflower seeds, and a yummy dressing!!Mix cabbage and green onions in large bowl. On a cookie sheet spread up broken ramen noodles, sunflower seeds, and almonds. Brown at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes. While the noodles are browning, make the dressing. Add all the ingredients for dressing in a small bowl and whisk until well combined. Add noodle mixture to cabbage mixture, then pour dressing over all of it. Let sit for about 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with mandarin oranges if desired. Serves about 10 people.

 

 

I hope you love it! And more importantly, I hope your kids will eat it.

Asian Chicken Salad with Ramen, Sunfllower Seeds, and Cabbage

For extra good karma, pin this recipe for me, or share it on FB.

I linked this post up here this week:

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Mom University: Tween Edition
7th July 2014

I was on vacation last week, and have had a whirlwind of activity, and family visiting. So, Manic Mondays just wasn’t going to happen. But, I hope you’re not sick of Mom U yet. Because, as promised, I present you with Mom U: Tween Edition.

I don’t have a tween…yet, but my sister does, and she is realizing that she is entering a whole new territory of parenting. I pretty much think my sister Lindsey is the most awesome person on the planet, so I was excited to force her to use her amazing writing skills, and whip these up for me with a tiny bit of help from me. Since her kids are older, I’m the lucky one and get to learn from her amazing mom skills as she raises my precious niece and nephew. But, this one today, is in honor of HER tween (whom I love VERY much) and will hopefully help some other tween moms out there too!
Mom University Tween Edition- Helping Moms Hang On to Their Sanity One Class at a Time!!

Fake it ’til you make it This course is essential in helping parents of tweens cling to whatever interest your tween may still have left in YOU. Remember how you cried three days ago about the fact that your tween no longer needs you quite enough for your liking? This course will help you multi-task in those rare moments your tween does want to engage. Take for example, when you’re trying to complete a really important project and he now wants to recount every detail of the show he just watched (including face expressions, body movements and exact inflections of each character’s voice…did I mention this was a Pokemon show?). With this class you will be able to master sounding interested in what he is interested in, so he will at least still talk to you (and get your project done at the same time!)

Face Freeze 101 This class will teach you the ever useful, completely expressionless ‘face freeze’! This comes in handy when your child is repeating information that “Mike” from his Math class so kindly shared with him about how babies are “really made.” Once you have mastered the face freeze and showing absolutely no expression in shocking conversations, we will move on to a more complicated task: looking completely calm and introspective during these vomit-inducing talks. You will be able to appear as though you are reflecting on something while you are actually experiencing internal panic.

Open Communication This class can only be taken by those who have mastered Face Freeze 101. This class will teach you to create an open line of communication between you and your tween, enabling you to discuss things that you wish didn’t even exist. Like, how babies are made, online predators, bullying, and whatever other horrific thing pops up on the internet. This class will help you use a method of talking to your tween that will work instead of using the old tried and true method of our parents which was “they’ll find out from their friends….eventually”.

Anti-Helicoptering This class will be highly challenging for the average parent today. Today’s popular helicopter parents may even fail this course the first time they take it. But, hey! Maybe that will teach YOU the importance of failing. This course is designed to teach you exactly how much to let go when your child is struggling with learning responsibility. You will learn valuable lessons like “How to let your child fail a test” and “How to NOT do your child’s homework for them” (even when you know they will fail).

Scare ‘Em Straight This class will teach you catchy phrases to throw at your tween to keep them wanting to stay young forever and respect you. Things like: “…and then you will forever have to tell people you are a sex offender” or “….imagine a really painful poo times 1,000. That amount of pain is equal to the amount of respect I deserve for eternity for giving birth to you.” will be phrases you learn how to say with seriousness and meaning. After this class, your child will be in no hurry to become an adult, and may be slightly scared of how much you know, too. *(the above statements are completely hypothetical and definitely have never escaped my sweet lips)

Enjoy It While It Lasts This class will help you count your blessings during the tween years. You will tell yourself things like, “At least they aren’t dating yet”, “At least they aren’t an actual teen yet”, “At least they will sometimes give me hugs still.”, “At least they aren’t driving yet”. This class will help you realize that it all could be so SO much worse. They could be an actual, sullen, real-life, full-of-angst, know it all TEEN. You will leave this class with a fresh perspective on the tween years, and realize that there is still some of that sweet innocence left in there somewhere. You just have to look for a it a little harder now.

What classes would YOU add to our Mom University Tween Edition?

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 Perfection Pending

10 Easy Recipes Your Family Will Love
25th June 2014

I’ve been trying new recipes again. And, I’m happy to say that out of the 6 pinterest recipes I’ve tried, only one was a fail. That is a HUGE success. So, I thought I’d share the 5 new recipes I’ve found that were crowd pleasers in my family, and also include the 5 of my own that you may have missed in past posts.

These are all kid approved, taste good, and pretty simple to make. So here are my 10 Easy Recipes Your Family Will Love:

10 Recipes Your Family Will Love. I know Because I've Tried Them All

Some of these 5, I’ve already made twice because they are that good!!

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Kheema: Indian Ground Beef with Peas via Natural Noshing

 

I love this recipe for Kheema: Indian Ground Beef with Peas because it is an Indian food recipe without a lot of work. This is one you can whip together super easy at the last minute. Last time I made it, we just ate it on top of store bought Naan.

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Red Beans and Rice with Turkey Sausage via NoBiggie.net

We’ve made this one twice and it will be a new staple in our house. Just super easy, and all the kids love it which is a huge bonus!

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Hash Brown-Crusted Quiche with Sausage via Very Culinary

I tried this one and one other similar recipe, and this one was DEFINITELY the winner. I love the fact that the crust is hash browns. Super yum. The kids loved it too. Everyone had seconds. We will definitely make this again.

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Slow Cooker Jamaican Jerk Pork Chops via The Shabby Creek Cottage

Oh my gosh you guys. If you try any of these recipes on this list, try this. We are making it again for a huge get together we are having this weekend. It’s easy, and I literally wanted to lick my plate and drink the juice. My two year old had thirds, which says it all.

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Spinach Artichoke Pasta via A Life of Flavor

If you love artichoke and spinach dip, you’ll love this. My husband wasn’t as crazy about this as I was, but the kids ate it, so that makes it perfect in my book. Super creamy and SO good.

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Cilantro & Black Bean Salad via Perfection Pending

This is one of my husband’s favorites. It’s good all by itself, but is amazing as a dip with chips or as a garnish on top of something else like enchiladas or burritos.

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Easy Turkey Greek Pitas via Perfection Pending

This is LOVED by my whole family. My 7 year old requests this all the time. So good.

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Easy One Dish Pork Chops and Wild Rice via Perfection Pending

This is one of my go-to meals when we’re in a hurry, and we never have leftovers because the kids love it so much!

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Easy Slow-Cooker Hawaiian Haystacks via Perfection Pending

I just made this a couple of nights ago for family we have in town. My niece and nephew made me feel like I was the most amazing chef ever and they ate thirds which of course made me feel awesome.

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Easy Balsamic Baguette Bites via Perfection Pending

I love this recipe because it’s quick, easy, light, and my kids love any excuse to eat bread for dinner. I called them mini pizzas and my two year old thought they were so fun.

And since we’re talking about Pinterest, you should totally be following my recipe boards if you love trying new things, or just want to wait and see what I’ve tried!!

Recipes to Try

Recipes I’ve Tried and Love

Vegan/Vegetarian Recipes

Perfection Pending Recipes