Living with Flavor.

To be honest, I am at a point where I’m not a fan of cooking. Though an avid Food Network watcher and fan, my days of slaving all day chopping, boiling and scooping have been cataloged away somewhere with fancy black and red lingerie in an unforgotten drawer.

I spend so much of my time trying to figure out how to introduce new flavors and foods to my kiddos on a regular basis this challenge seemed almost like my own personal hell invading my dream world of writing. I’ve spent days thinking about what to write along with putting it off as well. So why do it? Why do the challenge? Guess what? I didn’t do it.

I didn’t exactly do it per se. I didn’t literally introducing my kids to the taste of a new food but a taste of something different. A taste of life with no rules or schedules to be kept. The control freak let go and followed a different recipe for daily life achieving a different flavor … for at least 24 hours.

I let them feed Cheerios to fish (even though the sign may or may not have warned against that).

We looked at overpriced homes with breakables.

We ran through fountains in our clothes.

I didn’t check my Fitbit.

We ate on the dirt and grass.

I volunteered to bring baked goods to VBS on Wednesday … let’s just say they aren’t organic or made from scratch.

I let them stay up past bed time watching television in bed.

I let my oldest have a sleepover in my bed as we watched BattleBots.

Sometimes you just gotta sa.

I may have not followed the rules exactly but I nailed it on enjoying the here and now AND THAT is what the #ETHANproject is all about.

What’s your flavor??

Week 3 Challenge Grapic

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Books you should be reading to your kids RIGHT NOW, no matter their age.

I’m a book-nerd. Big surprise. I’m raising my kids to be book-nerds too. While in the womb and from the second they entered the outside world, I’ve been reading to my little minions. It’s a way that I am able to connect with my clan while calming us all down, whether as cranky infants, crazy toddlers, hormonal elementary kiddos or a stressed mommy, reading always brings our blood pressure down and a smile to our faces.

We head to the library once every week to return our books and pick out new ones to explore. I’ve loved sharing with my clan classical favorites like The Velveteen Rabbit, Charlotte’s Web, The Little Critter series, Goodnight Moon and some other classic reads, but with three kids, all different personalities and ages (sort of) I’ve read my share of good and also some really bad. Though the bad seem to out number the good, the good ones are so damn good that I end up forgetting about all the bad ones.

With summer upon us and its long days and energetic youth, I wanted to share my list of the “really good ones” that you should be reading to your kids right now, no matter their age.

Is There Really a Human Race? By Jamie Lee Curtis and Laura Cornell

Those who have read my posting material before know that I’m a big believer in relishing what you have and not pining for what other’s may have (a.k.a keeping up with the Joneses). Is There Really a Human Race goes along with this thinking, teaching little ones through word play on “human race” that living isn’t about racing one another it’s about being our own very best which means that in the end we all win the “race”.

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I’m Gonna Like Me – Letting Off a Little Self-Esteem By Jamie Lee Curtis and Laura Cornell

Another by the genius duet . Reminding little ones of all shapes and sizes (along with their mommies who also come in all shapes and sizes) that we should love ourselves no matter what. Telling us to embrace our assumed faults, that we should like ourselves when we are good and bad or our when our ideas are different and our feelings are mad. As long as you like yourself, you’ve already won the popularity contest.

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An Awesome Book, a little book about dreaming big.  By Dallas Clayton

I’m obsessed with this book, it’s illustrations and the delightful way Clayton uses words to touch your heart and blow your mind. Telling our babies, big and small, that dreaming big is always the way to go. But rather than dreaming about superficial things like “matching silverware” and fancy cars, keep dreaming about the crazy and creative that make each of us and the world uniquely amazing.  My kids love the pictures that match the dreams told through the words of Clayton. A story for little ones to grow up making big dreams and a reminder for us grownups to never stop dreaming. Check out an online version of the book here!

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I’m always trying to push healthy foods on my kids. I have a tendency to make them choose a physical activity over a stagnant one (unless it’s cuddling with their mommy and a good book). So when I can find books that get the wheels of the minds of my minions when it comes to actually eating healthy foods, I want to find the addresses of these authors and drive to their homes to thank them in person while gifting them with lots and lots of home-baked goods.

The Avocado Baby By John Burningham

This one got my eldest to try an avocado something that would need a hypnotist to actually be achieved. I’m in love with this green little piece of heaven. I eat an avocado every day. I sneak avocado into my kiddo’s smoothies. I triumphed in having one of my clan members (the little girl of course) liking my favorite green fruit.

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The Gulps By Rosemary Wells

A favorite cartoon of my eldest is Max and Ruby, so of course we would seek out all books written by the creator Rosemary Wells. In finding Wells we found the Gulps family. This book makes me laugh while scaring the shit out of my kids. It makes my little ones (and myself) think twice about what goes into our mouths and how much television we might be watching. I often find myself saying things like “Would the Gulps eat that?”

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I’m convinced that every parent chooses one book over and over to read to their little one(s) because they personally love that book more than their child. A choice that speaks to their own child at heart while nourishing their adult daily reality. The soul nurturing reads that I always choose are Big Words for Little People (again by Jamie Lee Curtis and Laura Cornell) and Love You forever  By Robert Munsch.

BWLP is one that celebrates the messy of life with the use of big words that sometimes stump our little ones. It gives light on the words we mommies and daddies use to describe some every day situations that we sometimes wish weren’t actually happening but also shed some light on some words that make our life complete like LOVE and FAMILY.

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Love You Forever tears at my heart because I too watch my little ones sleep while wishing they would stay small.  I read this book to my kiddos to let them know how much their mommy loves them and that other mommies love their kids that much too … no matter how many birthdays will pass. I also have a hidden agenda of making sure that I have my butt covered when I am old and gray and they wake up in my arms as I carry them to my empty nest home to rock them in my arms – this way they won’t think that it’s weird 🙂

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Father’s Day Bonus: MY Father the Dog By Elizabeth Bluemle

This one makes my minions and I laugh because though our daddy doesn’t resemble a dog in looks he sure fits the bill in this book as being a dog disguised as a human. We love him and always scratch his head and rub his belly. This is the perfect gift for daddies on Father’s Day to share with their kiddos for some laughs and quality “sit in the lap with a book” time.

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Please share your must reads in the comment section!! I’m always looking for more good reads!

 

 

Summer is Coming: Enjoying the Here and Now.

Do you hear that? The screams, the whining, the sweat dripping off a child, your house creaking from the weight of crafts, toys and mess? That’s right, I hear SUMMER COMING.

Summer is coming

That means my kiddos are going to need me more than usual and yours are going to need you more than usual. No school means more family traveling. Summer hours and long summer days mean more hours focusing on the ones that make up your family rather than on yourself > enter pity party here (for me I will be potty training twins this summer, so I am already feeling sorry for myself).

Summer is coming …

What if we had a ton of women banding together in this pity party? Wouldn’t summer be even better and have more of a guarantee for our survival if we had a support system where troubles and triumphs were shared making you feeling like you were sane rather than feeling as if you were going ape-sh** crazy with kids ruling your world? What if that meant enjoying the here and now as a mommy rather than dreading it’s existence (harsh I know but when three little humans are clawing at you and asking for ANOTHER snack while simultaneously fighting with one another, it does seem like Armageddon). What if you were reminded to embrace the innocence of your children and realize how fast they grow before it’s too late?

Summer is coming …

And so is the #ETHANproject. Simply put, Enjoying the Here and NOW as mommies, women and wives. I am joining with other bloggers on a 10 week challenge to do just that as The Funny In Mommy. We will be sharing our stories, good and bad, while hoping to inspire you all to share yours too. Hoping to motivate everyone to be better and accept when we suck at life, our kids are monsters and our husbands are wondering who the hell they are even married to anymore.  Opening the minds and hearts of women to enjoy their loved ones here and now. The challenges will be tweaked to fit who I am > finding the humor in it all and what my life is about … woman stuff, wife stuff and mommy stuff. It’s like a syllabus for me and a reading guide for you, making the summer a whole lot easier for the both of us and our world, one in which we can enjoy the here and now.

Summer is coming …

I know you’re busy but remember to share your own good, bad, brilliant and idiotic via social media using the #ETHANproject.  Also make a date with Grounded & Surrounded every Friday for a briefing of photos & stories from the #ETHANproject bloggers and their readers. Who knows, maybe you will be featured!

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Mom Took a Beat Down.

Having one of those days when you feel like the worst mom ever? You are not alone. 

Neighbor: “Who’s that lady laying in your front yard?”

My children: “Oh that’s our mom.”

I feel like that’s how a conversation would have gone Monday if I allowed myself to escape the house for help. But if I would have tried my children would have done just that … brought me down in the front yard so I wouldn’t have gotten too far.

A Mommy Beat Down …

Ever have one of those days? One of those days where your kids, the mailman , strangers, grocery clerks and your husband just beat you down. Nothing seems to be going right and the rest of the world is winning the lottery and wearing gold medals for being perfect attentive parents.

I was having one of those days. The Midwest air was thick and humid feeling like a sweaty sheet that gets wrapped around your legs in the middle of the night. To make matters worse I’d been fighting a sinus infection so the added environmental pressure was making my face feel and look like it got punched.

A Mommy Beat Down …

My bedroom. 8:30 am. Mommy looking like a wet, colorblind clown. That’s when the mommy beat down began. It was like a scene from a horror movie where rats are crawling all over a corpse like they can’t get enough of it. That’s how my children were as I attempted to look like a normal human being in order to taxi their little bodies to the library where they would terrorize the librarian and embarrass me. Ever have one of those moments when you want to plead with strangers that these children are not wild animals and you ARE a good mother?

Ever have one of those days where everywhere you turned were perfect mommies. Around every corner was another kid asking for a snack or a cartoon to be turned on. Fights ensuing left and right. Messes on top of messes. The words “MOM!” echoing through your enlarged sinus head … pounding, pounding, pounding.

I was getting a full on mommy beat down.

Ever have one of those days? Where you find yourself in your bedroom just screaming because it was all you could do from crying? I was sick and felt like crap wanting to cry into a hole to blow my nose and watch crappy television. Instead my kids were calling me from downstairs to debate some endless, pointless quarrel between the three while simultaneously asking for something to eat and do. Did I mention that I had literally been up stairs for maybe 78 seconds before they discovered I was gone from their sight.

A Mommy Beat Down …

The rest of the day played out as the opening hours of the morning had. Chaotic and a mess. Too many fights. Not enough sleep. Too much cereal eaten. Too much television on. Not enough educational play. Too much of me yelling. No one listening at all.  Lots of “worst mom ever” feelings. Lots of feelings of my children are out of control. Ever have one of those days? A mommy beat down day.

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Legos Legos (F-ing) Everywhere

Taking a different spin on inspiration I asked my son what I should write about, he said a song about Legos. Wish granted.

Legos Legos (F-ing) Everywhere

Legos in my underwear

I found some in my bed

Your brother threw one at my head

Legos Legos stuck to my socks

Feeling like I am walking on rocks

I tried to hide your 990 piece case, but no matter what, you find my hiding place

I wish you’d get over this phase, maybe you’ll pick up making football plays

Legos Legos coming out of my (damn) ears

Little plastic blocks bringing me to tears

Legos green, red, blue and white

No matter the color of Legos, they cause you and your siblings to fight

I want to light these little squares of doom on fire

Fun for hours? Lego Company, you’re a liar

Legos Legos (F-ing)everywhere

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Top 8 phrases I say to get my kids to do what I want … (Don’t Judge.)

As my children gain the ability to talk I am reminded of the top 8 phrases I use to keep them in line. I’m pretty sure you also have a bag of your own tricky phrases too.  Judge if you must, because I have said it before and I will say it again > I am not the perfect mommy but damn I’m clever when I need to be (at least when it comes to out smarting a toddler).

1. Television isn’t good for your brain or your body. Whenever I find myself not winning the battle of my clan wanting to watch television I pull this phrase out. I overheard my eldest using the phrase on his dad the other day, proof that it’s doing it’s job and making an impact. 

2. Eating too much sugar will make your teeth fall out. Believe me, I get it.  Ice cream, cake, donut holes and cookies are amazingly delightful goodness in your mouth. HOWEVER, why is it kids go beyond the limit of moderation into a realm of over consumption wanting more than what seems humanly possible????!! Sometimes getting them to stop asking for more takes a bit of scare tactic and that is EXACTLY when I use these words. There’s something about picturing their selves without teeth that makes them stop asking for more sugar.

3. People who hit go to jail. I don’t spank my kiddos and they don’t live in a household where they see anyone hit one another, so I’m not sure where this expression of aggression coming in the form of hitting comes from. After I figured out saying things like “No one hits you, why would you do that?” or “Do you go around hitting your friends?” wasn’t working I took a different approach and simply told them that people who hit other people go to jail. That turned the situation right around > my eldest began to tear up and say he didn’t want to go to jail with bad people and robbers. Needless to say, the hitting situation was squashed. 

4. Your new mom will be here in an hour, I’m going to go pack my bags. This one I do feel guilty about, but when you have lost all hope sometimes you gotta pull out the big guns. There have been about three instances where my eldest (a five year-old boy) has turned into 15 year-old teen girl screaming and crying at me over something incredibly insignificant (like the shape of a piece of cereal). During these times he will not listen to reason, nor finds it possible to retreat to his bedroom to cool off. Instead he insists he is in the right, throwing his whole body into the tantrum literally kicking objects and relatives in the process. During these times when all words seem to be blocked from his hearing, he has heard me say this phrase loud and clear. He instantly dropped the teenage girl act and focused on how much he loved me and didn’t want me to leave. Don’t judge.

5. God (Santa, Easter Bunny, Elf on the Shelf etc.)is watching you.  Do I really need to explain this one? I have heard many parents over the years, not to mention cashiers, waiters and other service peeps say these words to keep a kid in line. Sometimes the higher power beings are the ones who get the most respect in the eyes of the child. Unfortunately, we parents, the insignificant dwellers, do not fall into this category. 

6. I see you at ALL times, because I am your mom. Every mom knows the sound of a certain cabinet being opened or the crackle of a bag being broken into. This superpower hearing allows us to “see” things not with our eyes but our ears. I know when something is being touched when it shouldn’t be or when a cry is from being hit by your brother rather than from a fall. My kids always look at me in amazement when I catch them in the act or question their whereabouts asking, “How did you know mom?”

7. I have magic powers. Often my children have sooooo many questions about how I did something that I almost feel as if I am under interrogation on an episode of CSI. I’ve found that by simply saying that I have magic powers, when it comes to things like baby making and where I got “that ice cream”, it works to stop the questions.

8. That’s how the machine made itWhy? Why? Why? … This one worded question is the worst. It can be repeated in an hour conversation with a little one 50 times in response to each answer you give. Out of frustration from a conversation about an oven this phrase came out of my mouth. It’s worked ever since when dealing with an inanimate object and the dreaded “Why?”.

Please feel free to share your top phrases to keep your clan in line! I’d love to add to my ammunition.

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Holding a Guitar or Holding a Jockstrap?

There’s something about a musically inclined man that just makes my heart pound. I am an avid The Voice watcher NOT because I enjoy new talent (I happen to hate American Idol) but for the men that grace the judges chairs. I’m all about Pharrell, Adam Levine, Blake Shelton and Usher.  The world around me goes silent when these men appear on my screen, their jokes seem extra funny while their clothes extra cool.  Let me explain …

I prefer a guitar rather than a jockstrap.

A true cult follower of Save By the Bell, I don’t recall Zach Morris ever being very athletic, I do however remember his debut as head singer and lead guitar player for a band called Zack Attack. My heart belonged to Zach not sweaty Jerry curl Slater – the one wearing the jockstrap. Ever since I can remember dating, or even having a crush, I preferred the artistic ones over the athletic ones. Even as I was dating the athletic ones I was probably staring at the artistic ones across the rooms. Something so magnetic about this breed of men that I found myself instantly drawn. Don’t get me started on JT, the one and only Justin Timberlake that is.   I almost used the heads of a group of teenagers and 21 year-olds as stairs to the stage when my husband gifted me with tickets to see Timberlake some years back.  As I watch Justin on SNL or other random broadcasts I find myself laughing extra hard at his jokes while I flip my hair and smile saying out loud to no one in particular, “Oh that JT, he is just so funny AND talented.”

Funny that I should fall in love and marry a man that is an athlete and is 100% dedicated to loving sports. I can tell you that the part of him holding the jockstrap is not the part that drew me to him 12 years ago. In fact he was able to close the deal with me as a wild and crazy 20 year-old because he could play the guitar. Lucky for him his roommate taught him how to play the guitar a short time before meeting me. Lucky for him I met him when partying took presidente over sports. I knew he was a tennis state champ, was a maniac on the soccer field and had a knowledge of every sport invented, but who cared when he knew how to play “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls, not to mention Satellite from Dave Matthews (don’t forget this is early 2000’s). The guitar in his hands is what made me crush on that drunk college kid with spiky hair not his old trophies on his dad’s office shelf.

To this day my husband still complains that I don’t appreciate his athleticism, it’s not that I don’t because I do, it’s just that I tend to prefer a guitar over a jockstrap. He says he could take Adam Levine in a fight … I’m sure he could but could he take him in a sing off?? I think not 🙂

What’s your preference guitar or jockstrap?

zs

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