Oh Just Cuss Up!

I’m possessed! Someone with a much fouler vocabulary has taken over my mouth. I didn’t grow up in a cussing household, quite to the contrary actually. Even as I got older I very rarely let out a cuss word. I never felt it was necessary to get my point across, until…

I became a mother! More precisely a mother of two under two! I can’t tell you the times in a day I find myself muttering a cuss word under my breath. The cuss words are never uttered at my children or in earshot. Let me tell you, every other inanimate object has heard from me. I’ve really told the air where to go on numerous occasions.

No, my cussing is usually aimed at the many toys I stub my toe on or trip over on a regular basis. Or the many different pieces of food my son throws on the floor and I inevitably step on. Or the numerous times I’m traipsing up and down the stairs to get my daughter to fall asleep. It could also be the constant loading and unloading of the dishwasher, with always a stack still waiting. Its even the pile of dirty laundry taunting me or the clean laundry awaiting its final destination. Trust me, it’s going nowhere fast.

Even a few infamous cuss words have escaped my lips recently out of ear shot of my husband, out of frustration over said husband. I just don’t think men have a clue of what we go through mentally or physically! I am totally convinced they would not survive a day alone with the children. Commence cussing when I’m up since 6:00 and husband sleeps in until 8:30! This is usually preceded by a night that I was up with one or both children while he lay snoring. @#*!

In utter frustration and exhaustion I’ve even shot off the F word a few times to his face recently. Shock and awe! This was never a word I uttered before becoming a haggard and exhausted mother. My good friends know me for my line of “Are you kidding me” with hands gesturing wildly through the air! Even my tagline has taken a turn for the worse and is hanging out in the sewer with the insertion of the F word. This is usually blurted out upon being awoke by one of the children only a few hours after I have fallen asleep. Just give me a … break!

At this point, I wonder if I should start a cuss jar and then use that money to treat myself to a little me time. At the rate I’m going I could afford a trip to Tahiti! Who am I kidding, there would be no one to watch the kids.

Ok, well let me just go cuss into my glass of wine while pinning decorative ideas for a cuss jar!

 

Alright, I just couldn’t wait. Bought supplies and poured a glass of wine!

Supplies: Chalkboard paint, Blue Painter’s Tape, Glass Canister

Tape off a square with painter’s tape. I also taped on paper towels to cover the rest of canister from overspray. Spray smooth even coat.

Let paint dry 20 minutes. Grab your chalk and woot woot you have a college fund cuss jar. I hope I gave you a laugh, have fun!

Bourbon Mint Marinated Pork Tenderloin

What a great weekend we had for grilling out. This mint bourbon marinade is one of the best recipes my husband has put together. We frequently use this on pork tenderloin and salmon. It was hard to get a recipe down because my husband never measures out his ingredients. Hope you enjoy this as much as we do.

1 or 2 Pork Tenderloins

Marinade:

  • 1/3 cup Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1 or 1 1/2 tsp. low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup bourbon (Jack Daniels or Woodford Reserve)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup mint leaves
  • 4 chopped garlic gloves

NOTE: We grilled ours on the Big Green Egg with indirect heat at 400 degrees.

For the oven:

  1. In a blender, combine all marinade ingredients. Blend for 1 minute or until mint and garlic are blended well.
  2. Pour marinade over pork in a shallow baking dish. Move the pork tenderloin around to make sure it all gets covered.
  3. Let marinate for at least a half an hour.
  4. Heat Big Green Egg to 400 degrees or get your grill going.
  5. Grill for approximately 20 minutes. I prefer to grill pork tenderloin until internal temperature is 145 degrees. This allows for the pork tenderloin to still be slightly pink and stay moist. Adjust your grill time accordingly. Let the pork tenderloin rest for a few minutes before slicing.
  6. While the pork tenderloin is grilling, bring marinade up to a boil in a pan. Reduce heat and simmer. This can then be drizzled over finished pork.

Can’t go wrong with bourbon!

We served our pork tenderloin with carrots and parsnips that we sautéed in a pan with olive oil.

Free Family Fun

Free family fun, does that still exist? We found some at a local County Fair this past weekend and we had an awesome time! Bigs is really into animals right now so when our friend told us the fair had a petting zoo we thought we’d give it a try. To be honest, our expectations were not very high. We imagined the petting zoo to be a little pen with some chickens, cows, and goats.

To our surprise, there were hundreds and hundreds of animals! I don’t know who had more fun, Bigs or me. Now, just be grateful this post doesn’t have smell-a-vision. Wooeee, the smell was awful but the experience was one of a kind!

The first treat for Bigs was seeing a big tractor in person.

Now, for me a must have at a County Fair is a funnel cake. It’s just not a County Fair without one. I mean how can you pass up fried dough with powdered sugar. I sure can’t! It’s a good thing the funnel cake was good because the rest of the food was awful.

Now, one of the highlights for me was the rabbits. This is strange because I’ve never had an affinity for them. In fact, lately I’ve been cussing out the rabbits getting into my vegetable garden. There were probably a hundred different kinds of rabbits. It was so amazing to see all of them. My husband strolled off with the kids and left me because I couldn’t tear myself away from them.

We didn’t know that they were also selling animals at the fair. Now, it’s a good thing this little guy was already sold because both my husband and I wanted to bring him home with us. Two kids under two, three dogs, sure let’s throw in a rabbit.

These are some of the other amazing looking rabbits. Again, who knew!

Once they finally pulled me away from the rabbits. It was on to the hundred different kinds of chicken and roosters. This was also exciting for us because we’ve recently considered getting a few hens in a backyard run for eggs. Again, I don’t have my hands full or anything. Husband had to leave me again because Lil was not excited about the Roosters. Every time they crowed she started to cry. They were pretty noisy.

So, the rabbits were my highlight. Bigs favorite animal was probably the cows! Who knew cows liked to lick like dogs. Bigs and I both got some tongue action from the cows. Not like that, get your mind out of the gutter.

There were hundreds of different kinds of cows but this pretty girl was my favorite. She had such a pretty face and was so sweet.

Bigs next favorite animal was the goats. It was such a fun moment to capture. It’s an amazing thing to see the world through your kid’s eyes. He was so excited that he could feed the goats.

I’m not really a pig person. I’ll eat them though, haha! I was glad when my husband took Bigs into see the baby pigs instead of me. This ended rather quickly once he started to pull the little piggy’s tails!

After hours of exhausting fun. We walked through the rides on the way out. Bigs was fascinated by the movement and lights. Lil by this point had her fill and just wanted to sleep.

I can’t express how much fun we had! To find free family fun these days is a rarity.

Thanks for joining in our weekend fun.

Have you come across any free family fun? Please share, I love comments.

Let’s Get Planting

It’s that time again, and I’m so excited. This weekend we had beautiful weather. We could finally think about planting. Weather is crazy though, we then had freezing temperatures two days later. It felt so good to be outside weeding my vegetable garden. Yes, I really did say that. I had two summers in a row of being very pregnant in 100 degree weather. I don’t mind being crouched down in my garden sweating it out, 40 pounds lighter.

I grew up in the country and we had a huge vegetable garden. We either ate our vegetables fresh or canned them to have through the winter. Gardening is something I thoroughly enjoy. I also think it will be good for the kids to learn how to plant something and watch it grow. There is nothing better than fresh vegetables and herbs from the garden. So, I thought I’d share our first enjoyable weekend working outside.

Ok, nice weather equals cute spring outfits for the trip to the plant store. I had so much fun with Bigs. He was modeling for the camera. His whole outfit was from Target. Really, that place is taking all my money.

We always overdo it with the plants. We overfilled our cart and had to get a trailer for our trees. The drought last year wasn’t friendly to our trees in the back yard.

Bigs thinks he can move the wheelbarrow with the tree. What a little helper he has become. It was really amusing watching his frustration that he couldn’t move it.

So, this was my garden when I started to weed two weeks ago. I never thought I would see the end. This was the worst it has ever been.

Finally, finally, finally I see dirt! It took me way to long but I am much closer to planting. I still need to till and fill with more of my magic growing dirt which I’ll post later. Hooray!

Saggy Baggy Summer

As women who’ve had babies, we’ve all had our issues with what pregnancy does to our bodies. Some of us will be forever cursed with stretch marks, varicose veins, and hemorrhoids (ahem) that won’t go away. I recently had a different discovery. I was drying off after a shower and bent over in my birthday suit, and caught a glimpse of my stomach. It startled me to realize that I may never look the same again. Literally, everything, (and I mean everything) on my body has shifted in transit.

I realized my stomach now looked like the main character in a favorite childhood book. You guessed it…I was now The Saggy Baggy Elephant. You see, our poor skin can only take so much before it screams, no way, huh uh! I’ve had it! There is no possible way it’s going back in place.

I am fascinated by the fact that I can pull the excess skin away from my body. I almost can’t help myself from playing with all the folds of skin. As I’m shopping for bathing suits for our upcoming beach trip, I now face the realization that saggy baggy is here to stay.

I decided to pull the old book out and see how accurate the summation of my new body is. As I perused the pages, I found another photo that reminded me of a very pregnant self. If I had done a pregnant self portrait soaking in the bath, this would be it. I began to wonder if the author of The Saggy Baggy Elephant had been a women.

This will go down as my saggy baggy summer!

Congenital Hypothyroidism: Letter To My Daughter

LETTER TO MY LITTLE GIRL
WRITTEN SEPTEMBER 26, 2012

To my sweet little girl… On Monday, September 17th, your Daddy and I showed up at the hospital to give birth to you. We didn’t know what we were having but were pretty convinced you would be our second boy. To our shock and amazement, our sweet doctor said you were a girl. We all cried tears of joy that you were finally here safe and sound. We had a couple scares during pregnancy but we made it to your due date. We were so happy to finally name a baby girl. You were so beautiful with a full head of dark hair and gray blue eyes. Your temp was low and you had a broken clavicle but we were able to take you home the next day. You were such a great baby.

On Friday, September 21st, at 4:06 pm I got a call I will never forget. I was in the glider nursing you and your Pediatrician called. She started to say words like blood work, abnormalities, and Congenital Hypothyroidism. I’m sorry, what did you say? I was in shock, and couldn’t grasp what she was telling me. All I could do was look down at you and think, this isn’t possible. This isn’t possible for anything to be wrong with my beautiful little angel. I had to have her repeat everything to your Daddy because I just couldn’t process it.

They had gotten your bloodwork back from the hospital and realized that your thyroid numbers were not in the normal range. Your thyroid was either not working or working very little. They believed you had Congenital Hypothyroidism. She said to take you to the hospital immediately to have your blood retested. By the time we arrived at the hospital we were terrified in to silence. From the things your pediatrician had told us and what we read on the internet we learned how devastating this diagnosis could be. Congenital hHpothyroidism is the leading cause of mental retardation in babies. These babies wouldn’t develop mentally or physically. How is this possible…?

My heart broke for you as you cried getting your blood drawn. You were so tiny and precious. While we were in the lab, we received another phone call from your Pediatrician. She had already called Childrens Hospital and spoken to a Pediatric Endocrinologist. I was told you were to start medication immediately. They sent us for blood work just as a formality. Your numbers were so bad that you probably didn’t have a thyroid at all. You were to take two pills tonight, two in morning, two the next day and one everyday for the rest of your life. Your blood would need to be drawn on a regular basis to make sure that your levels stayed in the correct area. Was this happening? I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. This was just a bad dream. We had never heard of Congenital Hypothyroidism.

We were heartbroken. We were devastated. You would have to take this medication for the rest of your life. Your Pediatrician was reassuring that since it was found early it was manageable. Getting the medication quickly and taking it consistently was key. If you didn’t get this medication your brain wouldn’t develop, your growth may be hindered, it was dire. Hours, days, weeks matter with this diagnosis and receiving medication.

You started medication on the fourth day of your precious tiny life. It was hard to grasp that one pill every day was so critically important to your development. One pill could completely change your life.

It is an unbearable pain to know that something is wrong with our precious little baby and we can’t solve it. We can’t make it go away. We love you so much and it breaks our heart when we hold you in our arms, look at you, and know we are helpless. We have given you a pill everyday since. We have your blood drawn again next week to see if the medicine is working and we have an appointment with the Pediatric Endocrinologist in a few weeks. We are holding our breath and worried sick until then, hoping that your meds are working.

I am so, so, sorry we can’t fix this. I am so sorry that we can’t make it go away. We love you so much and you have brought such joy to our lives in just the nine days you’ve been with us. You are our precious baby girl. Please, please let the meds be working…

How To Plant a Vegetable Garden

One of my best memories from childhood was our vegetable garden. There was nothing better than having a plate of fresh vegetables at the dinner table throughout the summer. I am so excited to now share this past time with my children.

Since I have been pregnant for the past few years it’s been hard for me to keep up with my vegetable garden. This is what I’ve gone through this year to get it prepared. This is how to plant a garden that grows like its on steroids.

  •  First, I had to weed my crazy garden. This is what happens when you are busy having babies. You get weeds from hell! It took me over a week and six garbage bags full of weeds to get my garden ready. Hard work pays off I promise!

  • At the beginning of planting season, which will be after your first frost, you’ll need to till up your soil. Over time that dirt settles and gets very hard. This gives it life again.  There are plenty of choices of tillers out there. I purchased a tiller that can be plugged in so I didn’t have to worry about filling it with gasoline and it was less expensive.

  •  After I till the dirt, I get a rake and level it out. Looks so much better doesn’t it?

  • Now for the huge secret:  Mushroom Dirt!
  • I didn’t know about this until about four years ago. This is the secret to making your plants grow like crazy! You can purchase this at Lowes but it’s more expensive. If you can find a farm that will charge you by truck load or per scoop it’s much cheaper. Look at how much darker and richer this dirt looks. It’s magic dirt!

Bigs was in charge of the wheelbarrow. It’s fun to get the kids involved in gardening. It makes them feel helpful and they get to see how things can grow from nothing to something amazing!

Now It’s Time To Plant!

My experience with potted plants is they’re never well watered when I purchase them so this is what I do when I’m ready to plant.

  • I fill a five gallon bucket with water. I hold the plant just under the water. You’ll see bubbles coming out of the dirt of the plant. I hold it under just until the bubbles stop coming out.  This gets the dirt nice and saturated.

  • Dig a hole slightly larger than the plant.
  • Take the plant out of the plastic container and gently separate the roots of the plant.

  •  Place the plant in the hole and press the dirt around the plant.
  • Warning: Mushroom dirt can run a little hot. If you see that the bottom leaves of your plants are getting a little burned you can sprinkle a thin layer of mulch right around the bottom of the plant. I have only had to do this one year.

Don’t Forget Plant Support

This was a great tip I picked up for any plant that vines out, especially cucumbers.

  • If you are short on space in your vegetable garden you can buy a cattle panel. I purchased mine at Lowe’s. You can also find them at farm stores if you have one. They come 16 foot in length. We cut the panel in half with bolt cutters. Since we didn’t need both we shared with a friend.
  • We then took two plant hooks and pressed them firmly into the ground and angle our cattle panel on it’s end.
  • Why is this great for my cucumbers? As the cucumbers grow and vine, I train them to attach and grow up the panel. This accomplishes two things: 1. I don’t take up space in my garden for a plant that needs the vining room. 2. As the cucumber vine grows up the panel, the cucumbers are easily visible for plucking.

This is a close up of the plant hooks supporting the cattle panel.

  •  Don’t forget to support your tomatoes when you plant them. If you wait until they are big it is extremely difficult to support them without damaging the plant. Our supports for the tomatoes actually came as a triangle. We took them apart and made them square to gain some extra space for the tomato plants to grow.

I hope this post has encouraged you to plant your own vegetable garden. I will post updates on my vegetable garden progress.

What I have planted this year: basil, cucumbers, zucchini, yellow squash, and tomatoes (lots of tomatoes).

What are some of your favorite things to plant in your vegetable garden?

 

Top Ten things you must stock in your kitchen

  1. Garlic: If I run out of garlic I feel naked in the kitchen. We use garlic in almost everything. Yes, in a pinch, you can use garlic powder but fresh garlic is preferable.
  2. Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper: I know it’s actually two things but I feel they go hand in hand.
  3. Extra Virgin Olive Oil: This is another thing we can’t live without. We cook everything with olive oil. We use it to sauté, make sauces, dressings, and well pretty much everything in our kitchen gets touched with EVOO.
  4. Onion: Ok, I am not a fresh cut onion gal. I am even shocked that I am at the point of including it on this list. If you feel as opposed to onions as I did, really give them a try. When an onion is cooked down in a dish it adds such depth of flavor. I think you can almost do an injustice to some sauces without it.
  5. Broth: Go for the low sodium Chicken or Beef broth. I have substituted one for the other in a pinch. If you were to have just one, go for the chicken broth. If you feel like you have extra time (hahaha) and want to make your own, go right ahead. If I do happen to save chicken stock it gets shoved to the back of the fridge never to be seen or heard from again.
  6. Lemon and lime: Yes, I did it again with two things. I’ll just call this the citrus category. I learned something recently about lemons and through practice have found it to be true. Don’t forget about the zest of the lemon. There is more flavor in that zest than the juice. The zest can really enhance your dish.
  7. Tomatoes: Personally, I love tomatoes. I could eat them like a piece of fruit. There is nothing like a real garden tomato. Tomatoes are great to cook down for spaghetti sauce and stew. I usually have fresh and the no sodium, whole, canned Roma tomatoes.
  8. Wine Ok, maybe this should have been at the top of the list, haha. Red and white go well in quite a few dishes. Anytime I make stews or braised meat I always include red. Sometimes I even throw it into spaghetti sauce. White wine can be used in chicken dishes and some fish dishes as well. Let’s be real, the best part is you get to drink it while you are cooking. Can’t beat that.
  9. Fresh herbs: I was going to put specific ones but I know everyone has their favorite. My three are fresh basil, thyme, and oregano. I can’t live without basil in the summer. I use Oregano in spaghetti sauce and even to sprinkle on a sandwich. Thyme is great with chicken. One thing I did discover about Rosemary recently is that I only prefer it roasted in the oven or sautéed in oil so it gets crunchy. Try this if you think plain rosemary is to overwhelming. Have your favorite on hand.
  10. Cheese: Not the shredded cheese but actual blocks of good cheese. Our new favorite is Parmesagn/Reggiano

Sticky Fingers

So, I was feeling brave. I was going to attempt to take both babies shopping. It’s quite exhausting hauling two 24 pounds babies in and out of the car. Yes, they weigh the same. Even more frustrating is trying to maneuver a double stroller around the racks. It’s not always easy fitting through the doors either.

Our shopping trip started off at Target. That place will be my financial down fall. We successfully managed to do returns, which I usually try to do without the two babies in tow. We did great and even managed to grab a couple goodies. You see what I’m saying, cha ching! We made it out unscathed.

I’m feeling pretty good, feeling even more brave. Maybe we could head to the mall. So, more returns for Children’s Place. We had a close call at Children’s Place with a near melt down from both Bigs and Lil. The only way to solve this is trying to look at clothes with one hand and continuously push and pull the stroller in place with the other. Yes, we are quite an amusing site. Since they seemingly calmed down, I had an obvious lapse in judgement and decided to push my luck.

Maybe, just maybe, I could run in and out of Victoria’s Secret. I really need a new bathing suit. I’ve not had a nice suit in a couple years being pregnant. If I had a hot suit then maybe I would feel like the old me again. You know, instead of the Mom who never gets out of her work out clothes, and that’s not because I’m working out! The girls also need extra support these days with breastfeeding, and I thought Victoria’s Secret would be the best choice for that situation. I quickly realized there weren’t many options at Victoria’s Secret. I really don’t need the 2 inches of padding…I would then look like Dolly Parton. Ok, now we have officially hit our limit. Lil has informed me that she is no longer falling for the pushing and pulling the stroller in place.

On our way to the mall exit, I spot a very colorful Maxi dress in the front window of a store. Well, I couldn’t pass that up could I. Obviously, I was still in my dumb fog and thought I could run in, grab it, pay, and then get the hell out of dodge.

I speedily wheeled my Bjorn through the entrance when I hear a beep, beep, beep. What the …? I look around and nope, only me. I looked at the store associate and said, well I guess that was me. With a puzzled and fascinated look she was glancing back and forth between me and Bigs. She then said, well he’s got something in his hands. What! I head around to the front of the stroller, and sure enough Bigs, now a.k.a sticky fingers was holding something teal. What in the world is that!?! Yes, you guessed it, Bigs had snagged a teal bathing suit bottom from Victoria’s Secret. Guess he thought I would look good in teal. Funnily enough, No alarm went off upon exit of the Victoria’s Secret store.

I hurriedly ran my crying babies, double stroller booty to the opposite end of the mall to return the stolen merchandise. I repeatedly apologized to the high school age associate for my son nabbing a teal bikini bottom… and chewing off the tag.

Bigs will now be known as Sticky Fingers and will not be going in to VS with me ever again.

What the what?

So, just picture this…In my mommy brain haze, I’m trying to type an important email. I’m trying to type the phrase “getting all my ducks in a row.” I never realized what a difficult saying that was to type when your brain isn’t functioning at full capacity. There I am, just happily clicking away and hmmm what did I just type? What the what….I replaced the D with an F in ducks! Woooaaaa nelly, back that thing up! That’s not what I meant. Ok, well the F is by the D. Alright, crisis averted…start again. Click, click, click. What in the world! That’s not what I meant either. Ok, now I’ve replaced the the U in ducks with an I! That isn’t where I was going with this email. This saying sucks. Literally it does, because I could have typed that too.

From now on, I will never try to type ducks in a row ever again. Well, after this post that is!