Finding the Me in Mommy

I feel like chicken tonight, chicken tomorrow night, and the next night too…

Hey, all!  I haven’t had two minutes to spare this week for my poor blog.  Sad, because a few things have happened that could provide beaucoup material.

It has been crazy.  We are selling our house and looking for a larger one.  Having my house on the market and searching listings every day is the most nerve-racking thing I’ve ever done.  And that includes subbing in a kindergarten class, finger painting with a toddler, and having a husband.

One good thing about being super-busy is that I tend to create new, easy meals.   This particular one started out as one evening’s dinner, but I made too much and got two more really good meals out of it.  So, I’m giving you all three recipes because I plan to make too much again, intentionally this time, during this chaotic thing called house-hunting.

Day 1 – Crockpot Cilantro Lime Chicken

  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1 jar (24 oz) salsa (I used medium heat)
  • 1 pkg taco seasoning
  • juice of 1 lime, or equivalent bottled lime juice
  • 1/4 c fresh cilantro, chopped

Place chicken breasts in crockpot.  Mix together all remaining ingredients and pour over chicken.  Cook on low at least 6 hours.

I served this over rice for the first night.

We then had 3 chicken breasts and lots of sauce left, so I decided to shred the remaining chicken and make these enchiladas for the second night’s meal.

Day 2 – Cilantro Lime Chicken Enchiladas

  • leftover shredded chicken ( I used about half of the remaining chicken)
  • approximately 10 flour tortillas
  • 1 can enchilada sauce
  • 1 can green chiles (do not drain!)
  • 1 cup + 1 cup pepper jack cheese, divided
  • 1 cup Fritos, crushed

Place a large spoonful of chicken in the center of each tortilla. Sprinkle some cheese on top of chicken before rolling.  Roll up each enchilada and place seam side down in a greased casserole dish.  Mix green chiles into enchilada sauce and pour over the stuffed tortillas.  Cover and bake at 350 degrees for  25minutes.  Sprinkle remaining cheese and crushed Fritos on top, bake uncovered for an additional 5 minutes.

I know Fritos are just weird on enchiladas, but these were crying out for something salty and crunchy. Fritos perfectly fit the bill.

So, I still had half of the leftover shredded chicken.  So far, I had been really impressed with how different the flavors were for the first two nights.  I didn’t want anything that tasted the same as either one of them.  So, I thought I’d try to come up with a White Chicken Chili recipe.  And here it is…

Day 3 – White Chicken Chili

  • leftover shredded Cilantro Lime Chicken
  • 2 cups chicken broth or stock
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 can cannelini beans
  • 1 can green chiles (do not drain!)
  • 2 TB butter or margarine
  • 2 TB flour
  • 1/8 tsp each salt and pepper
  • 1 TB tabasco sauce
  • 1/2 cup rice, prepared according to directions

Melt butter in large stockpot.  Add onion and garlic, cook until softened (about 5 minutes).  Add flour, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper, mix thoroughly.  Add chicken stock and milk.  Bring almost to boiling over medium heat.  Reduce heat and add chicken, green chiles, and tabasco.  Simmer for at least 20 minutes. Add corn and beans.  Cover and simmer 10 more minutes.  Add cooked rice, and guess what, simmer a few more minutes.

I made the rice separately because I hadn’t planned for it and didn’t want to lose all my liquid into the rice.  You could cook the rice in the chili as it simmers, just make sure to add more liquid from the beginning.  My husband said this was even better re-heated the next day, too.

I hope you enjoy these recipes!  I’m going to go do some laundry, since that has also suffered this week.  Tonight’s the night, or we might all be buried in onesies by tomorrow morning!


I’m running an inadvertant nudist colony.

Well, that sounds worse than it really is.

I swear, I pick out adorable clothes for my boys.  And I’m careful to choose things I know they like (well, the little one just gets what I like.)  So, my oldest gets Transformers, Batman and all that other boy stuff.  Occasionally, I can still talk him into Mickey Mouse.   He is so excited to wear them and shows everyone the Cricket or Grasshopper (yes, I know it’s really Bumblebee) or whatever on his shirt.

But the minute we get home, one of the first things out of his mouth is “Mommy, can I be nakey-legged?”  And pretty soon that’s followed up by “How ’bout nakey-shirted?”  So the cute clothes end up in the laundry, and my undie-clad exhibitionist runs around the house absolutely thrilled with his lack of clothing.

And then there’s the baby.  I’m blessed with a happy, smiley baby.  But I get the biggest, happiest smiles and full-on giggles when this kid is wearing a diaper or less.

I don’t get it.  I’m sure I did this as a kid, but now I would be mortified if someone told me I couldn’t wear my clothes.  Even if I had a body like Giselle, I wouldn’t be comfortable running around in my skivvies.  Okay, well, maybe if I had a body like Giselle.  But instead I have two kids.

Does every kid do this?  Or should I put a “Beware of Nakeyness” sign on my door?


I need a Pause button!

The silliest things have made me feel sad today.  My little boy (who isn’t so little anymore, really) started soccer yesterday.  He looked so big in his little shorts with the shin guards.  I know that he’s growing quickly, but I’m not altogether thrilled with those circumstances that force me to face the fact.  On top of that, my baby can now touch his toes to the bottom of the bassinet while his head is touching the top, so we had to put together the crib.  Yet another reminder of how fast time goes by.

Obviously, change happens.  Kids grow.  I know that and I want my kids to grow up, healthy and happy.  But, man, does it have to happen in the blink of an eye?  I’m feeling all sorts of guilt (I think I’ve mentioned that Catholic school girl guilt before) about any time I’ve ever complained about my kids driving me crazy, or needing a break, or needing sleep more than snuggles.  Again, I know that kids will be kids (read: monsters), that moms need some time to themselves, and that I’m not superhuman enough to survive without sleep.  But, still.

So, I’m going to go color with one while rocking the other.  And if I cry a tear or two, I’m going to try to claim that they are tears of poignancy instead of sadness.


What’s cookin’, baby?

I have taken on the grand adventure of making my own baby food.  During the time that my toddler was an infant, I was working outside of the home and it never occurred to me that I COULD make his food.  This time, I’m home and ready to a) save some money, and b) know exactly what is going in his mouth.  (Other than his hands, his toys, his blanket, his shirt, well, you know.)

I know there are many differing opinions about baby food purees.  I believe that every family makes the choice that suits their needs, and I’m only talking about my own experience.  So, no arguing, name-calling or hair-pulling on this subject.  I have a toddler, remember?

We started with carrots.  I peeled, cut and steamed a couple of carrots.  They were beautiful, perfectly ripe carrots because they came from the Bountiful Baskets co-op.  Hmmmm, maybe they should sponsor my blog.  I seem to advertise for them often enough!

Anyway, back to carrots.  I tried my food processor first.  It was a pain in the neck, not to mention an area distinctly south of there.  Then I took the half-mushed, grainy looking orange concoction and put it in the blender.  All it did was stick.  At this point, I was thinking that this making my own baby food business was getting complicated.  I may have cursed my food processor a time or two (under my breath of course), before I remembered the stick blender.  Success!  Carrot puree.

My son is a hilarious eater. It is physically impossible for me to spoon the food in his mouth as quickly as he would like.  Between every bite as I refill the spoon at warp speed, he lets out this loud, very irritated squawk.  And if I’m not holding his hands (which I’ve gotten very good at), he immediately shoves a fist in his mouth.  Apparently, he thinks that might satisfy his hunger.  Personally, I’d rather have a Snickers.

We’ve now tried apples, bananas, the infamous carrots, sweet potatoes, avocado, green beans, and peas.  I’m awfully proud of myself for making each and every one of the foods he’s eaten, although I might have quit the first day if I didn’t own that stick blender.

I can’t wait to try the meats, fish, and combinations.  I never thought I would be excited about making, looking at, or smelling, beef puree, but there it is.

No, I’m not crazy.  I’m a Mom.

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Life lessons from Blue’s Clues. Really.

On our last trip to the library, my 3 year old picked out his usual books.  Thomas, Charlie Brown, Max & Ruby, etc.  For some bizarre reason, he really wanted this Blue’s Clues book, called “I’m Sorry!” by Justin Chanda.  He considers himself too old for Blue’s Clues, so I was both surprised and irritated.  I can’t stand the Blue’s Clues show.  The silly mail song gets stuck in my head and the guy is weird bordering on creepy.  I watched one episode where he did an Elvis accent, and I’ve never been able to watch it again.

So I have to admit I totally rolled my eyes at this book.  I put off reading it to him, saying “Wouldn’t you rather read Calling All Engines?  Or Charlie Brown Valentine?”  Finally, it was the only library book left unread, and I was stuck.

It ended up that the joke was on me.  I love this book!  I guess without the annoying song or the guy who gives me the heebie-jeebies, it’s a whole different ball game.

In the story, Green Puppy borrows Magenta’s favorite crayon and accidentally breaks it.  (Side note:  I’m a little bewildered by green, blue and magenta colored puppies, but it didn’t faze my toddler at all.)  Magenta is sad, of course, when she finds the broken crayon.  Green feels bad, but doesn’t know how to tell Magenta that it was her fault.  Through the story, all the characters help Green find nice things to do to show Magenta that she’s sorry, but in the end, Green learns that being sincerely sorry is what matters the most.

Seriously, what a great lesson!  This is exactly the concept of sorry that I most want my children to understand.  A sincere sorry and honesty about what happened are most important.

We read this book the night before last.  Last night, I had something occur that reminded me that this basic concept of sorry applies to all people, all ages, in all interactions.  Sorry doesn’t mean anything unless you feel it in your heart.

I have high hopes that my children will learn this at 3, and not have to learn it by causing pain to someone else when they’re my age.  And if Blue’s Clues helps that happen, I guess I’m okay with Blue and her many-colored buddies.  Although, I’m still a little freaked out by Steve.

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How to get a 3 year old to listen to you…

Wow, that’s a topic, right?

It’s actually a pretty easy answer, in my experience.  Pick up the phone, call someone you haven’t spoken to in awhile, and ta da!  Your child will listen to every word you say, put in their two cents, and interrupt.  Over and over and over.

Actually, I think this method works on my husband too.

There is no joy greater than being a parent.  But there are some days when I feel like tearing my hair out if I hear “MOoooooooommmMMMMyyyyy!” one more time.

Needless to say (but I’m saying it anyway), it has been one of those days.  Today is a day when we are not doing art projects, we’re not working on a workbook, and I’m not limiting television or Leapster time.

Because some days, happiness means breaking my own rules.


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My little loves…

I know Valentine’s Day is still a few weeks away, but it’s on my mind.  My 3 year old picked out “Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown” at the library today.  We talked for a couple of minutes about what Valentine’s Day is, and then he announced from the carseat, “You’re my best Valentine, Mommy!”

You know what, he’s mine too, he and his brother.  No matter how much I love my husband (and I do, of course), there is nothing that compares to how I feel about my sons.

Tonight I have listened to baby giggles, toddler train sounds, and a hilarious “Do you have a brain, Daddy?” question.  I can’t imagine anything better.

So I’ll gladly give up a romantic candlelight dinner in exchange for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and sticky hugs.

So, my little loves, will you please be my Valentines?

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Praying for answers

I am filled with sadness about the tragic death of Sidney math teacher Sherry Arnold.  I have been following much of the media coverage, which is very unusual for me.  After working in the court system for several years and observing trials in criminal cases, I now typically avoid the ugly news.  Maybe I’m an ostrich with my head in the sand, but I’m much happier enjoying my happy days with my kids if I just don’t listen to the negativity happening outside of my home.

But this case gets to me.  Maybe it’s because of the lack of actual information, but for some reason I can’t quit speculating about what really happened.  I’ve spent a good portion of the last few days mulling over my experiences in criminal court and trying to come up with a theory about this case.  Confirmed dead, but no body found?  Charged with kidnapping, not homicide?  And who in the world are these two men from Colorado and why on earth did they target a Sidney math teacher?

It occurred to me tonight that amidst all my theorizing, I have neglected the most important thing.  What about her poor family?  They need answers so much more than I, an absolute stranger who just happens to have an interest in criminal law.

So, I’m going to try really hard to quit speculating.  I will use that wasted time to say many, many prayers for everyone harmed by this heinous crime.

My heart goes out to the family and friends of Mrs. Arnold.   I pray that they will find the answers they need.  And if there are no answers, I pray that one day, the memories of their loved one will outweigh the tragic circumstances of their loss.

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It’s a sick, sick, sick day around here

So, just yuck.  Somehow we got the cold germ in our house, and passed it around.  Except my husband, we’re all sick.  Even my poor sweet baby.  I mean, it could be worse.  We could have the stomach bug….yuck.  Or it could be my husband who was sick since he’s the most difficult patient.  But still, there’s nothing like feeling like Helpless Mommy when your kids are coughing and sneezing and whining because they feel miserable.  Oh, and then there’s the fact that I feel miserable myself.  And did I mention that somehow, my husband is not sick?

And just so you know, we’re not sick just because the Packers lost.  But I must admit to a stomach ache over a few of those dropped passes.

On the bright side, today is the day I order this week’s Bountiful Basket.  I realize it’s a very small thing, but I get ridiculously excited to see what wonderful fruits and vegetables we’re going to get.  Now that I’m making baby food, I can’t wait to see what is in the basket that the baby can have.  Today, avocados, tomorrow, the world!  Or peas, maybe.

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It’s 2012, right?

So, I did it.  I’m now officially part of the current century.  I have a blog!  Hopefully, someone will read it…

Today is my lazy Sunday.  I should be thinking about dinner and cleaning my house before the Packers game starts in an hour.  Instead, I’m typing away at my computer.  See, there’s already an advantage to being a blogger!

So join me in the adventures of being a mom to my two amazing little boys, finding and trying new recipes (because I hate cooking something I’ve cooked before)  and my quest to find great new books and the perfect pair of shoes.  And, well, anything else I feel like talking about, really.


My 3 1/2 year old knows who scores the touchdowns!