Category Archives: Blogging/Working

All things related to blogging, writing, photography and working.

Easy Peasy Blueberry Muffins

So, I love to cook. Always have really. I remember being so excited when it came time for the cooking portion of the home economics class I took in highschool. Actually, I took a home economics class at all the high schools I attended. Yes, plural. I just have always loved to cook, and after many years of making shitty dishes I finally learned the basics of cooking when I lived overseas in Italy.

Lone Blueberry Muffin

Cooking makes me happy and relaxes me; even though the kitchens ends up in complete disarray when I am done. I love watching cooking shows and competitions. I want all the kitchen gadgets I can fit in my drawers. I wear an apron when I enter my sanctuary and I love to capture my creations on camera! Trying out new recipes and new food is my idea of a good time. I love shopping for new serve ware and I have a fucking theme in my kitchen. I like to describe myself as a self-proclaimed foody and amateur cook.

Anyway, I was never a sweets person before Charlotte, so my baking skills were at a fifth-grade level. At best. I burned prepackaged cookies. I mean seriously; break off, put on cookie sheet, bake for 7 minutes. Burned. Always. I don’t know. But when I was pregnant with Charlotte that all changed, and the need to learn to bake was born.

I love muffins, and they are a super easy way to learn how to bake from scratch. My husband especially loves blueberries, so this is a recipe I make often. They are not too sweet, so perfect for breakfast, and just sweet enough that I can have one at night to quiet a craving.

Ingredients:

2 cups blueberries

2 eggs (room temp)

3 tsp baking powder

3 cups flour

1 1/4 tsp salt

1 1/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

6 tbsp butter (room temp)

1 cup milk

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375. Combine butter and sugar in mixer. Once mixed, add eggs,

vanilla and then slowly add the milk. While that is mixing combine dry ingredients.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the batter.

Lastly, fold in the blueberries carefully.

Fill your muffin trays fitted with cupcake liners 3/4 full of batter.

Bake at 375 for about 25 minutes.

Blueberry Mixer Photo
Mixing the ingredients!
Blueberry Fold in Berries
Carefully fold in blueberries. Makes roughly 12.

These muffins are super easy and delicious. Not to mention, few ingredients are involved so the cost to make these is on the low side!

Blueberry Freshly Baked

 

Grab a cup of coffee, a muffin and get to it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Guess I’m That Mom

Finding a snarky post or two about helicopter moms that spend too much time on Pinterest and in cleaning gloves is pretty easy. I can appreciate the overwhelming feeling of destain for the mom who seems to have her shit together and ducks in a row while you feel like you are drowning in dirty laundry and haven’t had a good night sleep in weeks.

Organized and efficient often translates to uptight and controlling. Someone who keeps a clean house and home cooked meals on the table is described as a Martha Stewart type or a Stepford wife. A mom with a parenting plan is viewed as a know-it-all.

So, after reading enough post that describe all the way moms can be annoying and all the things they should quit doing I can only come to one conclusion; I am that mom.

Moms who post way too many pictures of their kids on Facebook. I am that mom.

Moms who go nuts on Pinterest and actually do what they pin. I am that mom.

Moms who post pictures of food they have prepared. Guilty again.

Moms who make over-the-top meals for their toddler even though they hate food. You betcha.

I am certain I will also be guilty of making cute bento box lunches with notes for Charlotte when she starts school and be a member of the PTA as soon as I can.

I was a very organized, tidy individual before my child arrived, only makes sense I would carry that on. Spending my time cooking, cleaning and taking care of my daughter isn’t enough for me. I never planned for this gig, nor did apply for it (but I am happy to have it). I was a happy, hard-working professional before hand, so I simply cannot just stop the hard-working aspect of my personality just because I multiplied. Well, I could, but my husband might object.

I need hobbies and projects, I need to set goals and accomplish them, I need a focus for my day or my week. It’s how I cope with the challenges of motherhood and being a stay-at-home mom. Not to mention the constant struggle to feel like myself. And it’s how I help manage my anxiety. When the house is dirty, the fridge is bare and I have nothing on my to-do list I feel out of whack. I spiral. That’s no good.

 

It’s ok to be Grateful and Miserable at the Same Time

One of the first things everyone tells you when you have your first baby is to enjoy every minute because it goes quickly. You get tired of hearing it before the baby comes and then after they are here it is the one piece of advice that you try the hardest to remember. It does go by fast, but it can also feel Groundhog’s Day. You know what I mean.

Some days it is so hard to find the energy or the patience to mother. Babies require constant around-the-clock hands-on care and on some days you can’t even muster the will power to put big girl pants on. On those days, you especially feel the pressure to enjoy all the moments, dammit.

Right now we are in the midst of teething, so when she is clinging to my leg like a dryer sheet while I try to do the dishes and I feel absolutely miserable I can’t fix it, I have to remind myself it is all a phase and will pass. For some reason her little face from that angle, all pouty, gets me in the gut every time. And she must know it, because when she is in a mood, her to go-to method is to cling to mom for dear life. Especially if I am at the sink. Or stove. Or standing, ok, more like if I am standing. You get the point. It is easy to feel miserable in the moment. You can’t help it. Those are the times the guilt of feeling miserable can get to you.

After all, what do I have to complain about? I have a healthy, happy, smart one-year old and our needs are met and then some. If you are like me, sometimes I struggle with being grateful and miserable. It breaks my heart to watch people I know well struggle with even conceiving a baby; yet, some days I can’t get out the door and away from the house fast enough.

Mothering is hard work. And I only have the one kid, so kudos the those with multiples! It is easy to get overwhelmed by it all and fall into the miserable category a time or two, we are all human. Being grateful and miserable go hand-in-hand in the world of parenting.

 

 

 

Why my ‘Little Blog’ Means so Much to me…

My interest with blogging started when I decided I was going to stay home when out daughter was born. Blogging almost seemed like it was the most logical decision. If I am staying home, the least I can I do is start blogging so I can earn a little money. Easy peasy.

I looked into it a little bit, but I quickly realized I had no idea what I was doing. I eventually put enough time into it that I figured out how to generate a blogspot page. That took me a while because I really have a pretty basic skill set when it comes to technology. I will put off installing an update on my phone if it means I have to delete or transfer anything to get it done. I guess I would say, it can be overwhelming.

With the help of others and more time to dedicate I am finally up and running. Hopefully the readers will follow. I can see why most folks throw in the towel within the first 6 months.

When you tell people that you’re blogging I am pretty sure you get the same blank stare which is usually then followed with forced support.

“Oh really, that’s great. I will have to check it out!”

And I totally get that. I am pretty sure 95% of new stay-at-home mom’s have dabbled with the idea of blogging when they stumble across a success story or see a post floating around that looks like something anyone can write.  Like my sister-in-law ninasays told me once the realization of the work it takes and time it takes people often give up on it.

I am not going to pretend my story is any different, either. Once worker bee turned boo boo kisser. College graduate who now stores her once treasured diploma in the same closet as the gift wrapping supplies.

None-the-less, I put together a short list of reasons my ‘little blog’ means so much to me:

1. If I don’t get out how I feel, I am convinced my once pretty little head, now tired and slightly older head, will explode.

2. I need to feel productive in something other than mothering and wifeing.

3. I am not sure if it is my personality, past life as a professional or need for validation, but blogging allows me to set goals, work on something that is my own, be creative and write. All ingredients that help me to feel fulfilled.

4. Boredom. I tote my kid around pretty much every where I go. Everywhere. But somehow having a 14-month old pretty much means being home a lot. Also, my house doesn’t clean itself and the meals certainly don’t magically appear three times a day, so we are home a lot. I get bored with some of the mindless labor that goes into running a household (cleaning, laundry, meal prep) and having this creative outlet is important to my sanity and working brain cells.

5. The thought of being able to help out financially really gets my motor revving.

6. I know by reading blogs by some of the popular mom bloggers that my perspective is unique and my two-cents might resonate with another mom. I get a great feeling when I read a post I relate to. Mothering is hard and it can be isolating, so the internet is a great way to stay connected to other moms. Our village is different now. I want to be a part of that village.

With the amount of blogs out there, I get it. Finding a new brand or niche is nearly impossible. I have a TON of things to learn. Just spending 5 minutes on someone else’s sight I find 10 things I need to do to mine. So much to learn for someone who is not very ‘techy’. I expect to be fine-tuning my site years to come. One thing is sure though, I am determined to find a place in the blogging world!

 

 

 

 

 

The Evolution of Parenting

The topic of the generational gap in parenting has surfaced in various areas of my life, and I know I am not alone. I have read articles circulating the internet, talked about it with friends/fellow moms during playdates and had a few conversations with different family members. Because I have a 14 month old, it is something that resonates with me. Everyone has on opinion on child-rearing and most people like to make that opinion known to you. So like it or not, it shows up at my door.

The generational gap in parenting can cause quite a rift between the current parents of little ones and the past parents of little ones. If not a rift, then certainly the gap leaves room for plenty of awkward moments and heated debates. Depending on the parenting style you identify with, if you do, it can feel like the only thing you have in common is the desire to keep them alive. I don’t know about you, but I remember a childhood of riding city buses to and from the mall, walking to the near by 7’11 (which was across the street at a busy intersection) and spending the night with a friend that my parents barely knew. Forget about meeting parents. All at the ripe old age of 9 or 10. Perhaps I had too much freedom, but I certainly was not the only latchkey kid in my neighborhood. It was a much different world when I was growing up. Kids were out of their parent’s hair and both were happier for it. Now, in my generation of parenting, parents are being investigated when they let their kids walk to the park and back.

Looking at the evolution of parenting though, I get it. It makes sense how some of these parenting traditions came to be. Previous centuries of parenting was as much about survival as it was about love. Kids became helpers very early and luxuries certainly did not exist. Living situations made certain arrangements like bed sharing just a normal part of life and when the opportunity came about for something different like NOT sharing a bed, who the hell wouldn’t jump all over that. People breastfed due to necessity. I don’t see many moms back then going, ‘well she wasn’t a good latcher so we decided to bottle feed’. Life was much different, so parenting had to be. No one can argue that. Strength is a virtue that definitely wasn’t lost on previous parents to pass down.

We have to acknowledge however, that life has changed. Even in the last 40 years it has changed dramatically. And much of the traditions, techniques or whatever you want to call them don’t really make sense to continue today or could use some modifications. For instance, we are a society obsessed with technology; which was not a concern of the past. An upside to all this technology is that current parents have the internet at their fingertips. Which means access to an overwhelming amount of information 24/7. What an invaluable tool. It has changed the game in parenting. Having information to look up is relieving, convenient and easy to do. It is something I would definitely be lost without. Before the internet parents had to rely on professionals or word of mouth. Which usually meant taking what you have been told for face value. Now if we don’t like what someone says or are just plain curious we have the internet to rely on. Downfall, well, it can also cause you to second guess everything and make something out of nothing. It’s pretty much guaranteed. The internet itself brings about issues that require parent’s attention. Internet issues can range from monitoring screen time to worrying about and being vigilant to online predators. Oh, and don’t forget the MAJOR problem with online bullying. Parents today face challenges that simply did not exist before. New challenges mean new parenting.

Sadly for my generation, the days of latchkey kids who are kept an eye on by neighbors is long gone. The saying ‘it takes a village’ derives from somewhere, and it sure as hell isn’t from today’s society. In generations past family, friends and certain education staff were not only welcomed to discipline your kids, but expected to. Remember school spankings? Now if you catch someone disciplining another person’s child, you can almost bet there is going to repercussions. In the past, parents were more inclined to back other parents before any kids. Now its the other way around. Today specific parenting styles are popular and this leads to identifying with and surrounding yourself with those you see as like-minded. When groups form, it can set the stage for judgement and criticism. For example, it is common to see moms who chooses to bottle feed being questioned or criticized and at the same time hear about a mom breastfeeding in public being asked to move or cover up. So not only does my generation not have this crucial village to help raise our tiny humans, instead we have learned to tear down other parents who do it differently then us.

In the past, parenting was pretty much something that was learned. You know, ‘this is how it has always been done’. You have heard all the same wisdom passed down from pervious generations before, I am sure. Don’t hold them too much, you will spoil them. Put cereal in the bottle, they will sleep longer (which I am sure works today), don’t let them sleep in your bed, it will ruin your marriage… and so on. No harm no fowl. Some of the things I have heard are a little odd and some things I couldn’t imagine myself doing, but maybe for some it would work. Just feels odd to me to not acknowledge that times have changed, children’s needs have expanded and our sources for information has grown immensely. Reading a book, looking up stuff on the internet and or attending one or two of the classes offered. You can learn a lot and see how times have changed. Even baby sleeping placement has evolved over time as information has emerged.

As a mom, I know many modern mothers don’t always see eye to eye because being a mom today can mean so many things and there are so many ways to go about it. Moms hold so many titles today and it  seems like being the stay-at-home mom isn’t the traditional thing to do anymore, working is. It’s very easy to find to topics to debate. However, one thing I feel is pretty universal among modern parents and it is that we agree parenting has evolved. Makes you wonder what the hell it will be like in another 40 years. Maybe insurance will cover live-in nannies, epidurals will come in pill form and men will be able to lactate as well. One can hope.

 

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My Take on the Wife Bonus

I knew the minute I read the first paragraph of the lady’s post about her wife bonus she was going to be judged up one side and down the other. She knew it! The title says it all: “I get a wife bonus and I deserve it, so STFU.” There it is, shut the fuck up. She believes she deserves, clearly, so yea, STFU.

Why is did this article get everyone’s panties in a bunch? It is the amount of the bonus, how she spends it or is it where it comes from? Well for me it is pretty simple.

I say, good for you. Just because her bonus is on a higher caliber doesn’t make it any less deserved.

My logic is this; in her current life as a wife and now stay-at-home mom she is opportunity all those professional qualities she used to succeed at her career before hand, where she would be compensated monetarily. Her husband recognizes the sacrifices she makes so he can pursue his career and the work she does at home and with their daughter and feels like she should be rewarded for it.

Why are faulting the way she is rewarded, compensated, spoiled, pampered or however else you want to label this bonus?

I know if my husband could afford to give me a little something extra he would do it in a heartbeat. Wouldn’t yours?

I mean, maybe I can relate to this lady in a round about way. I mean, I will never be getting a bonus is the hundred thousand range, but I certainly don’t fault her for it. If she was a high earner in her career previously and was able to spend money on purses and shoes as a treat, why would it be viewed negatively to be able to continue to do so while working in the home instead of working outside? Is it because the money comes in the form of a yearly bonus and it comes from her husband?

For us average parents, the amount she receives as a bonus is more like a yearly salary, but never the less, the place it comes makes sense to me. It is basically her salary, for staying home, supporting her husband’s career, putting her’s on hold and focusing all her efforts into supporting her new domestic role.

Not to mention, as a stay-at-home parent you have no retirement plan. When you do not earn your own income and are reliant on another person it changes everything for you. So a nice little chunk of money that gives some independence is a great thing and a stress reliever.

Now, I have read this being called anti-feminist. Maybe I am completely ill-informed but being recognized for your efforts, compensated for them and given some financial independence doesn’t sound anti-feminist. Am I looking at this all wrong?

If I was still working in my profession I would be making close to what my husband makes. I am educated and have a strong professional history and I like to think all that spills over to how I take care of our house and daughter. If I could be compensated for it, HELL YES I WOULD TAKE IT!

You guys, I love what I do. Of course. I am not being held hostage. I can go to work anytime, trust me. I am grateful to have this opportunity. But getting paid in kisses and sweet moments can only carry you so far.

I do get little “wife bonuses” every now and then and I eat them up. My little bonuses fall on days pretty much everyone gets a little something something like a birthday or Mothers Bay. A trip to the spa or maybe a small shopping spree at the outlet Gap or JCrew, and quarterly pedicures and hair appointments. I have a good life, I know it.

BUT, if I could fantasize about this lady’s wife bonus reality a little longer…

I would trade her designer dresses for spa days, trade her high-end heels for Steve Madden flats and sandals and downgrade her name brand handbags for Fossil totes and satchel bags.

 

 

 

 

 

Waiting to Have Kids Until Your Thirties isn’t all it’s Cracked Up to Be…

Nowadays people often choose to have kids later in life, choose to have fewer kids than pervious generations and sometimes choose to forego procreation all together. I fall into the first category. I have always been a goal setter and I have had a life plan for as long as I can remember. I can get out of sorts when life throws me a curveball, so I counteract this by planning what I can. I always have. I still don’t understand how I ditched so many classes as a teenager. The thought of being late or having to lie about my whereabouts sends me into a spiral of sweat and anxiety. So being able to plan out my day-to-day life and leaving the spontaneity for vacations has always been my thing.

So, my life plan was to join the Navy, go to college and eventually earn my PhD in psychology. I was 9 years into my Navy career and just starting my graduate program when I met my husband. It was sooooo not in the plans to fall in love and get married, let alone move to a state neither of us had ever been to, buy a house and have a baby. But, life has funny way of pointing you in the direction you are supposed to go. One day I woke up and realized I was 29 and had this overwhelming urge to make a tiny human. I always thought my maternal clock was broken or missing. Turns out was just on a timer. By 30 I was smelling babies, browsing the baby stuff at Target and making list of baby names.

So what is the problem with waiting to have kids? Well here is a short list of reason’s why waiting to have kids until your thirties kind of sucks.

Blanket Family shot

1. You have lived a full decade of adult life, so you know what you are missing.

2. You are “settled” into a routine and lifestyle so adding another person into the mix is tricky.

3. You know what being rested feels like, and you miss it more than anything else.

4. You enjoyed a routine of primping before hand because hello, daddy didn’t marry me sight unseen. Now primping is shaving your legs up to your knee and removing your unibrow.

5. Watching all of the other parents your age teaching their kids how to drive kind of sends you into a rage because they are almost done and you are instead tackling potty training and lopsided tits.

6. You have to nod and smile while your baby-free kids talk about their AWESOME life. That’s hard.

7. You can get away with looking frumpy in your 20s… it’s the bohemian trend. In your thirties you just look like someone who either needs help or a hug. And you usually do.

8. You force yourself to do things like play dates, go to story time at the library and blog about your life.

9. You feel guilty that your other thirty-something friends are struggling with infertility.

10. You have to realize that one day soon, you will be the uncool mom… because you are old.

 

 

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Where has my ‘giddy-up’ gone?

I woke up today thinking, you know I really need to get my ass in gear and start DOING SOMETHING about this blog and all the ideas I have to get it really going. The first time I woke up today it was 2:30 am and after Charlotte settled back down for another 2 to 3 hour stretch I was left tossing and turning. This happens most nights. Insomnia, addiction to social media, inability to relax my brain… whatever it is, it sucks and really is the reason I don’t sleep as much as I should. I did some reading on other ways to earn money as a writer from home. All avenues seem right up my alley. I have loads of writing experience, both professionally and academically. It is the overall motivation to get started. I have read all the self-help pieces that have laid out exactly what I should be doing and tips that will help me stay on the right path. I follow them, for the most part. I can make list after list, set numerous goals and generate multiple check-lists, and I do. It is the next step that seems to be holding me up. It is the actual ‘giddy-up and go’ I am lacking. I am falling short in the follow through department.

I have a couple reasons for this lack of enthusiasm. Overall, in the grand scheme of life, I feel as though I have paid my dues as far as deadlines and writing assignments. I mean, I did it for 10 years in Navy. Having someone over my shoulder, pacing back and forth… waiting for the product. Deadlines. I am far too familiar. Then I have graduate school where I was writing long 20 to 30 page papers in 3 to 4 hours on a Sunday night because I waited until the last minute. I mean, I wrote one of my final papers while sitting in our rented villa in Tuscany the day before my wedding while everyone was out site seeing. I sat, typing away. Sure, I may have been doing the writing while sipping some ridiculously amazing local wine that cost like 5 dollars. Oh the days. Anyway, you get my point. I have been writing the majority of adult life and now I have lost the motivation to do it now. The other reason would be that I am just way too into relaxing. I love it. I don’t really get moving until about 10 and then I am just beyond tired by 8 or 9 when the weasel if finally slain.

You know who doesn’t care: my daughter. Oh, and my husband (who has also paid his dues). So here I am, writing an entire entry about how I cannot find the enthusiasm nor energy to put time into my writing. Nope.

I should get back to procrastinating. I am sure there is a load of laundry I can be pretending to fold.