Thursday, March 31, 2011

Caribbean Sweet Potato & Bean Stew

So as to make sure I'm giving credit where credit is due... This is from Rival Crock Pot Family Favorites (page 30).

It says it makes 4 servings and takes 10 minutes to prepare. I think it took me about 15.

2 medium sweet potatoes (1 lb) peeled and cut into 1 in cubes
2 cups frozen cut green beans
1 can (15oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14 1/2oz) vegetable broth
1 small onion sliced
2 tsp Caribbean jerk seasoning (I couldn't find this at my grocery store so I mixed together:
2 Tbsp dried minced onion (but I didn't have any so I left out)
2 1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp ground allspice
2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2/3 tsp salt) and used 2 liberal tsp of the mix
1/2 tsp dried thyme (yes, in addition to the above)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted (in a skillet for a couple minutes on medium)

Combine sweet potatoes, green and black beans, onion, jerk seasoning, thyme, salt and cinnamon in Crock Pot slow cooker.

Cover, cook on LOW 5-6 hours or until vegetables are tender. (Mine cooked about 8 because that's how long I worked).

Adjust seasonings (wasn't necessary). Sprinkle with almonds. Serve with hot sauce, if desired (it wasn't).

All in all, a great meal!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dinner Time

This week Eric helped me plan the menu of dinners for the week. This is probably my biggest hangup with preparing dinner, the planning. Once I have a menu (and shopping list) I'm good about getting what is needed and preparing it.

Today I making ribs (much to my children's delight) in the crockpot. So dinner is already cooking. Yay me!

I think this means that I can take 10 minutes from my lunch time to clean a bathroom. I know I'll feel much better after I do.

This weekend we started "10-minute challenges" wherein we as an entire family spend 10 minutes on a chore and then get a little reward if we complete it.

I'm trying to make sure we do one each evening and three each weekend day, but we didn't do one last night. Tonight we will. (this is me convincing myself).

Okay, back to work work.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Blogging App and Meal Planning

I found a blogger app - it cost $2.99 and I usually prefer my apps to be free, but we'll see how it goes. So far it connects to my Blogger, Picasa, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter accounts. How many more social networking places does one mommy need?

Tonight I went to a party. I like to get out and hang out with girlfriends, especially when I'm still trying to make friends. This was an interesting party for WildTree - spices and stuff. Anyway, we got to eat and I purchased stuff that includes a 4 week menu with shopping list, which makes me happy. I don't mind the cooking, I just want someone else to come up with the (30 minute or less) recipes and give me a shopping list so I don't have to figure it out myself. It was great when my dad lived around the corner and planned all the meals and did the cooking. He and I would shop together and I'd pay for the food, but the whole planning thing stresses me out.

I also want to know what I'm cooking before the night time comes, I don't want to have to make a decision at 5:00 at night when I'm getting ready to go pick up the kids from the YMCA. That's when I'll decide "McDonald's isn't THAT bad..."

So, after a discussion with my own mom, I've decided that I'm just going to plan little increments of time when I'll clean the house. Today when we got home I told the kids we were spending 20 minutes cleaning. It wasn't like I needed the entire house done, just 20 minutes of focused energy on the task of picking up.

Jordan loves to actually CLEAN things (dishes, windows, counters, floors). She's not all that interested in actually picking things up. And that's where it all breaks down... the clutter that accumulates. And I'm not even a pack rat! I'm all about the throwing things out and not saving anything and who cares about sentimentality! And yet, the clutter abounds. It's everywhere.

Well, now it's time for sleep. It feels as if it's a Friday, but it's not and there's one more day of work to go in this week.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mommy Blog

My cousin, Jen, is working in a PhD program in English. One of her current projects is to follow a number of "mommy bloggers." I started thinking about this blog. I'm a mommy. I have this blog. Many, if not most of my entries are about my children. But I wouldn't consider myself a mommy blogger, I don't follow other mommy bloggers, I'm not aware of the culture or the philosophy of those mommy's who blog... like on a regular basis.

But my point, should there need to be one, is that I don't know how to be a great mom. I know how to be the mom I am and I feel like I'm failing miserably. I am many titles - and while mom is just one of them, I do feel like it is one of the more important ones. I'm also a wife, and a PTA Treasurer and a Den Leader and a friend and a daughter and an employee... I'm not sure how women today juggle it all successfully.

Tonight at our Lenten Small Group we talked about the decisions we make. Struggling between "yes" and "no". Our group discussed the difficulties of saying "No". It's a skill that is learned and I've done some of it over the past few... months, I guess. But when I'm overwhelmed with everything I don't know where to cut back. I don't know how to say "no" when I've already committed a "yes".

And then there's the guilt. The guilt that comes of not doing something well that I think might have an impact on my children's lives, or their upbringing, or their education.

There is really only one area in my life where I feel like I truly succeed and that's at my job. While being good and enjoying one's job is not a luxury everyone can afford, I'm grateful that I am and I do.

Why can't I translate that success to the rest of my life? Why can't I be great at making new friends, or keeping the house clean, or having patience with my children? Why does success seem to narrow it's focus to one area. And why, as a 21st century mom, is success in one area just... not enough?

I don't know how to get healthy. To get to a place in life where I can accept the things I need to do, and accept the things I can't get to. I feel like I swing between extremes, either completely productive to the exclusion of all else, or completely lazy to the exclusion of all else. That's not healthy, right? That's not balance. Isn't balance what we strive for?

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

kissy... kissy..... kiss kiss kiss!

The first thing you have to know is that Eric has this "thing" with the kids called "Kissy, kissy, kiss kiss."  It's where he, like a predator comes up and says "uh oh!  Do you know time it is?  It's time for kissy.... kissy.... kiss kiss kiss kiss" which is followed by kisses all over their face and neck.  It never fails to get them giggling and shrieking.  This has been a "thing" for at least a few years now.  It ALWAYs is a way to get Aron in a good mood.  He loves affection.  

The second thing you have to know is that Aron and Jordan read every night to one of us.  It's their homework.  Often they read from little copied books that they bring home.  One that they've had for a couple months is entitled "Slap Hello!"  It tells of different ways people say hello.  The cover has two soccer players giving a hi-five.

Aron decided to read this book to Eric last night.  Throughout the book Aron and Eric would act out the various ways they say "hello" in the book.  If they describe friends giving a hi-five, Aron and Eric would hi-five.

Aron reads" The pals will not hug and kiss. But they will shake hands." Eric and Aron shook hands.

Finally Aron turned the page and read aloud "Kiss, kiss ki..." and without missing a beat he said "Oh crap" and Eric would have done his kissy.... kissy... but Aron's response was just too much and HE dissolved into laughter for about 5 minutes. 

It was priceless, and just one of the many things that make 7 year olds endearing.