Title: (insert name of blog here)

Title: (insert name of blog here)

Today has been a day that reminded me, more than once, why I chose the name  “My Household DISorder.” Note the emphasis on the “dis.” Scratch that. This week has reminded me why.

I don’t know if my kids have become messier or if I’ve been lazier, but for whatever reason, I just can’t keep up this week. My house is a disaster. For every one thing I pick up, three more materialize on the floor. I know what you’re thinking parents. “That’s just having kids. Nothing special.” My response? I know it always seems that way, but I swear to god it’s ACTUALLY happening in my house this week.

I’ve also been experiencing a little “case of the melancholies” as I like to call it. This means that instead of the mess spurring me into a cleaning frenzy, it has beaten me down. I’ve been stomped into a catatonic state of “I don’t give a damn.” This week has stolen all my mom magic that allows me to be a human punching bag. I am defeated. Knocked out. Life is the champion this round.

Given this information you have probably figured out that there hasn’t been a lot of kitchen action this week. I’ll spare you the details, but just know this: Ham sandwiches and bananas. For dinner. Last night. Yeah… Because of this new low, I decided I should get back in the ring tonight and actually feed my family. I should have just stayed down for the count.

Since it’s Cinco de Mayo, I decided to make quesadillas. (The fact that they require almost no work and are done in like, 2 seconds, had nothing to do with it. Promise.) I was about to get started in the kitchen when I got a phone call. Since the kids were happily playing in J’s bedroom, I switched the burner right back off and stepped into the living room to take the call. Having lulled me into a false sense of security, my darling children chose this moment to act.

I came back into the kitchen to discover the loaf of bread COVERED in mustard. My kids somehow (don’t you wish we could ever know how?!) managed to silently sneak into the kitchen, silently open the child locked refrigerator, silently retrieve the bread from the counter, and silently squeeze half the bottle of yellow mustard onto it. My hearing is admittedly pretty terrible, but this seems impossible. I mean, I live in a double wide for crying out loud! My living room is literally right next to the kitchen! And yet, they made it happen.

My small silver lining was that at least the bread wasn’t ruined. The mustard was only covering the plastic. Except that it wasn’t. My brilliant (read:devious)  little angels had poked little angel finger sized holes in the plastic first. And then had squeezed the not so little amount of mustard onto the bag. Where it proceeded to seep perfectly into the entire loaf of bread.

I surprisingly still made the quesadillas. Which promptly turned into quesadilla soup all over the dining room table when he poured out his cup. Apparently, my small Cinco de Mayo celebration of quesadillas for dinner wasn’t enough for my kids. They have decided to throw their own party. One in which they release all their inner demons. Is it Cinco de Seis yet?????

P.S.

Did I mention I started this day by accidently calling my boss? At 2:32 this morning? Oh yeah, it happened. It’s a good thing that I’ve known him practically forever. And that we are good friends. And that my whole store team is like one big family. I mean, could you imagine if it wasn’t??? But still, what a way to kick off my day.

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Sunshine is my weakness

Sunshine is my weakness

So, I didn’t attempt the orzo past yesterday. The sky was just too blue and the sun just too bright. I HAD to be outside! So after picking my kids up, we played and played outside. By the time we came in, it was after 6:00, and the thought of starting in on a dish was depressing. I didn’t want to spoil the warm, cozy mood the sunshine had lent us, so frozen pizzas were popped in the oven. And I don’t even feel bad about it.

This will be an ongoing problem as we get deeper into warm weather. You see, I thrive on sunshine. Ask anyone who knows me, and they’ll tell you. Too many days of rain in a row, and I turn into a depressed, cynical Wednesday Adams caricature. I’m practically unbearable towards the end of winter. January and February really should not exist on my calendar. So when the sun finally comes to save me, I soak it up like a dried up flower after a drought.

In fact, we are headed out to picnic at the park right now. It’s another gorgeous day just begging for attention. I’ve spent the morning cleaning, and responsibility can hold me no more. My floors are vacuumed and mopped, and the laundry is moving right along. The kids were little angels and helped me pick up, so we’ve all earned a break. Also, the thought of letting and “feed” the sparkling clean kitchen floor gets my blood boiling. So out for a picnic lunch we go! *It may be a slightly selfish reason for taking them out, but  a moms gotta do what a moms gotta do. And hey, everyone wins here!

Hopefully I’ll feel up to attempting the pasta when we get home. If not it’s going to be PB & J and grapes for dinner. We will just have to see where the sunshine takes me today.

P. S.

Once again, it’s time for lists and grocery stores. What I really should be doing is planning that out. Instead,  I’m going to choose to ignore the dwindling supply of food in my house. At least we will be fully stocked up on vitamin D!!

I put it off as long as I could…

I put it off as long as I could…

but today was the day. I absolutely HAD to go to the grocery store. I knew it when I went to bed last night, and it was the first thing I thought about when I woke up this morning. I thought that was only supposed to happen with things you love, but I guess any strong emotion (hate, loathing, despair) can do it. I know I should stop complaining about how much I hate grocery shopping, especially since it isn’t something I can stop doing, but it seems to help me get through it. I’m hoping that one outcome of this journey I’m on will be a lessening of my hatred for anything grocery related, but until then you’ll just have to bear with me.

So the morning started off tainted, and only got worse from there. I managed to find two packets of oatmeal in my bare cupboards, so the kids did at least get breakfast. Unfortunately, they both decided the floor was hungry and needed half of each of their bowls. And apparently getting mopped can really wear a floor out, so J helped quench its thirst with his entire cup of milk. Yep, we really got off to a roaring start this morning.

While all this floor feeding was going on, I was struggling through my menu and list. I have to admit, it actually wasn’t too bad this time. Since I’ve kind of been slacking the last few weeks, I decided to make this a week full of new recipes. This makes my planning easier, as I just go through Pinterest and pick out things that look good and that I think I can execute. Everything’s a trade off though, because an easier menu planning/list writing week usually means a harder week in the kitchen. I’m sure I’ll have lots to talk about.

Between the cleaning and the list making, I was done before I’d even left for the store, but as I’ve already pointed out, I could avoid this no longer. So I packed up the kids and headed out. I managed to get a good 10 minutes away from my house when it hit me. I had spent over an hour forcing myself to create a list and then promptly left said list at home. At this point I was too pissed off about the whole situation to shop without it, so I turned around and headed back home. There’s nothing like a little anger to really get me motivated, so I snatched up the list and booked it to the store. I shopped with a fury raging inside and finished in record time.

After the day I’ve had, I opted for an easy dinner tonight. I’ve made it one other time, and it is delicious and quick. You just throw chicken, red potatoes, green beans, and butter in a baking dish, sprinkle with italian dressing seasoning packet, and bake. It is so good! This is actually the first recipe I ever made from Pinterest, back before the days of me really cooking. I remember how nervous I was making it then, even though it is ridiculously easy. It’s so easy that I’m almost embarrassed about ever being scared to make it. Almost. Instead, I’m just going to count how easy it was to make this time as progress! I’ve come a long way in just a few short weeks. #winning

P. S. 

It’s really sweet when your 3 year old tries to clean up the mess for you. It’s not so sweet when what she picks up off the dirty clothes hamper to clean with is a white t-shirt. Your favorite white t-shirt. Your only white t-shirt that you’ve been able to keep white. Until now that is.

Unplugged and Unapologetic

Unplugged and Unapologetic

Guys, the last week has been busy! Work has been crazy, the Easter holiday was crazy, and my kids are always crazy, so it’s been nothing but chaos and craziness for 7 days straight. And before anyone gets the idea that the storm has passed and life is slowing down, let me present you with this:

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That’s me as I try to write this post with 2 little helpers and one very large, very orange stuffed cat. What you can’t see is the iPad on the floor and my fingers desperately trying to type coherent sentences while keeping both children perched safely on my lap. (I swear, we parents should start a traveling circus to showcase our amazing feats of multitaksing!!) And this picture pretty much sums up how I’ve felt the last few days: overwhelmed and overburdened.

Well that’s not exactly true. Overwhelmed? For sure! I’m always overwhelmed, but I like my life full and busy and exhausting. I mean, who really wants to lead an underwhelming life??? But overburdened? That was probably the wrong word. I’m exactly as burdened as I would like to be at this point in my life. And the burdens I am currently carrying are all very good ones! Two beautiful, silly toddlers that require tons of work but keep me young at heart. Fantastic family and friends that love me and want to spend time with me. A job that is demanding and time consuming, but one that provides for us and I can honestly say I LOVE going to everyday. I’ll take those burdens time and time again!!

And so, when life turns into a whirlwind, I simply buckle up and enjoy the ride. I’m too busy enjoying all the things my real life has to offer to even thing about anything here in Internet world. So I don’t blog. I don’t facebook. I don’t even check my email. It’s not a deliberate decision. It’s just something that happens. I’m glad that I can just allow myself to be, to hold on and survive, to thrive. I make no apologies for it. And I highly recommend trying it for yourself sometime.

NOTE:

As you all can imagine, I did not get much cooking done in the last little while. I’m still too new at this to throw that into the mix of pandemonium and madness. So there may have been a frozen pizza night and a sauce-from-the-jar spaghetti night. Plus, there were 3 nights in a row of impromptu family dinner over at the parents (score!). But I did manage to produce my BEST DINNER TO DATE. Seriously y’all, this chicken was so good, I talked about it. And talked about. And talked about it. For days. It’s posted under the recipe tab. Do yourself a favor and go make this chicken. Like now!!

Mel 2, Universe 1

Mel 2, Universe 1

That’s right everyone! Log another W in the win column because last night’s dinner was an absolute smash! It was Italian sausage stuffed peppers, and even miss I-exist-on-nothing-but-smiles-and-hyperactivity S went back for seconds. I think I just might be getting the hang of the cooking thing!! Unfortunately, this unlikely development seems to have caused a cosmic shift in the universe. Let me explain.

I was on the back porch soaking up the last few rays of sunshine and basking in the glow of a successful first dinner. All was right with the world…and then silence descended upon the kitchen. This (can I get an “amen?!”) is NEVER a good thing. You see, before you have kids, you imagine weary parents welcoming a few precious moments of silence with open arms. Then you actually have the kids, and you learn (painfully in most cases) that SILENCE. IS. BAD.

In this particular learning experience, decided that tables and cell phones taste better with a few thousand pours of mommy’s expensive sweet chili sauce. I got to him just in time to watch the last drop fall out of the bottle and right onto his head. Apparently, babies need a little extra spice and clean babies need even more. So as I scrubbed the child, the floors, the table, and the cell phone, I couldn’t help but wonder what I did to deserve this.

And then it hit me. cooked something. I cooked something that didn’t come from a freezer or a box. I cooked something real, something that required a recipe instead of directions. There has always been an understanding between the universe and myself, and I had gone and upset the delicate balance of things. This? This was my punishment. And my punishment was the straw the broke the camels back for my sad, abused little phone.

So as I write this, one new phone later (what a way to start month 1 of budgeting, right?), I can’t help but hope that the universe requires merely one ultimate sacrifice in exchange for learning a new skill. I can deal with that. The alternative is keeping score, and I’m not quite sure I can keep up. Although if that is the case, I am currently in the lead! And I don’t plan on slowing down anytime soon!

Note: All of the recipes I have tried came straight from other people’s blogs via Pinterest. I know no one out there seriously thinks I was able to achieve these things on my own, right??? Because if that’s the case, you may need to back up to post número uno and read my core principle. Ha! Right after you do that, click on Recipes at the top of my page to try these out for yourself. Seriously guys, if I can pull them off, ANYONE can pull them off.

I have tasted sweet, spicy victory!!

I have tasted sweet, spicy victory!!

And it tasted just like the homemade black bean burgers I made last night. Yep, you read that right. Homemade black bean burgers. Made. By. Me. I certainly chose a doozy for my first recipe on this journey.

It all looked so simple on the glowing computer screen. Pour everything in a food processor. Form burgers. Cook! I raced home from work, eager to check off the first meal on my first ever menu plan. Well maybe eager is a stretch, but I wouldn’t say I was dreading it either. Or maybe my memory of it has gone all rosy after the success of it all. But that came later. First, I actually had to execute this not-as-easy-as-it-looked monster of a first recipe.

Prep time was listed as 10 minutes. I didn’t time myself, but I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that mine took at least 3x that. Of course, if I knew how to chop cilantro (thanks Google!) or how to convert measurements (and again!) or had a functioning can opener (this shoutout goes to the lovely S and J), 10 minutes seems quite doable. By the time I was done, I had:

1 destroyed kitchen

1 black bean purée covered mom

2 screaming toddlers

and 9 beautiful, almost-like-the-picture burger patties.

I put them in the fridge to harden up, and spent the next 2 hours bargaining with every higher power to MAKE THESE TASTE GOOD. I am not kidding when I say that if these things had not been edible, bad things were going to happen. Very bad things.

I was delighted when I pulled them out 2 hours later and discovered something must have gone right. They were beautiful and firm and could be moved about just like beef burgers. I cooked them up, along with the potato and zucchini fries I also found on Pinterest, and then came the test. Would they taste as good as they smelled? Would their cilantro heavy flavor overpower the sour taste left by the previous chaos in the kitchen? Would this be my first victory??

The answer is… YES! YES! A thousand times YES!!!!!

I loved the burgers. My friend (read: guinea pig) loved the burgers. AND they passed the kid test with flying colors! Even my husband, who does not like black bean burgers, reluctantly admitted that “they were good, I guess, if you like things like that.” That’s right guys. I aced the first test!!! And after this undeniable success on Day 3, I am almost excited about my dinner for tonight: Italian sausage stuffed peppers. Let’s see if I can go 2 for 2! Wish me luck!

Pro Tip:

If one splurges on the good, expensive sweet chili sauce that pairs perfectly with black bean burgers, one should probably keep it under lock and key. One should probably not leave it out on the table where J can get to it. And one should definitely not leave one’s phone dangerously close to it.

No one told me it would be THIS hard

No one told me it would be THIS hard

This is the story of days 1 and 2.

DAY 1

My first step on the road to domestic bliss is getting all things financial in order. My initial thought? Anyone out there looking to off load some unused inheritance, I AM  HERRRERE!!!! No takers?? None?? Nada??  Ok fine, off we go.

I start by setting a budget for next month. I find this nifty online tool that calculates everything for you, shows what % of your money goes to which category (household, lifestyle, debt), and generally makes things “easy” and “painless.” Easy?? Painless?? I call bullshit!! By the time I’m done plugging in bills, income, and savings (ha!), I am in  the floor, lamenting all things budgetary. I mentally run right back to our freewheeling, loosey-goosey lifestyle. I mean, we pay our bills! We eat! What’s the harm in just staying in our structureless nirvana?

I live in my carefree fantasy just long enough to hear an ominous crash from the living room. My bubble is burst, and in floods all the reasons why I’m attempting this (in my mind) crazy change. The kids. The husband. The house of our own to destroy. So I grudgingly go back to the budget, decide that it’s as good as it’s going to get for month 1 ($249 overspent), and tackle my next obstacle: menu planning.

DAY 2 

Waking up from my hard-cider-and-Pinterest induced coma, I am greeted by my unfinished menu plan and grocery list taunting me from the coffee table. You see, I am not a list person. And remember that core principle from the backstory? I. Hate. Cooking. So I hesitate to remember why I was writing these things in the first place. Then it all comes crashing back with the force of the destruction from yesterday. The kids. The future. The budgetary despair.

So I spend a few hours tearing out my hair whilst picking dinners for the week and compiling a complementary grocery list. I finish (FINALLY!) and realize not a single dinner is something I have ever made before. But I’m nothing if not ambitious, so I soldier on, figuring “what the hell? Balls to the wall right?!” I scoop up the 3 year old and off we go.

Remember me? Not a cooking person? Not a list person? I am also NOT a grocery store person. I hate buying the food almost as much as I hate cooking it. Nonetheless, I enter the store with my first ever list and a whole lot of apprehension. Shopping takes longer than usual as I’m buying things I never have before (chicken thighs, fresh cilantro, soy sauce) and I’m calculating things as I go (not mentally but constantly unlocking my phone to plug in numbers.) *Here I must pause and remind you that this is a judgement free zone. I will not judge you, so please don’t judge me. 🙂

I imagine how I look as I intensly debate the cost of white onion v. red onion with my rapt 3 year old, my ponytail loose and falling from the sheer stress of it all. Luckily, I have mastered pulling off the IDGAF vibe, so we power on. I blow the budget, but comfort myself with the idea that a lot of the items are new “staples” and won’t have to be purchased again for months. We make it out, and I am EXHAUSTED. My one shining moment from the day: I cross the last item off the list and realize I get to skip all four of the frozen food aisles. I smile for the world to see, knowing I must have done something right in all this business.

And my final thoughts on Day 2?

THANK GOD today is Sunday, which equals family dinner night over at my parents house (and no cooking for me!!!)

P.S.

In case anyone was wondering, this is what J looks like after mommy takes 15 minutes to post a blog.

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