A Better Mother: Quit being so hard

This is REALLY hard for me to confess.

I am not the mother I want to be. I love my child and my step child, more than anything. I would lay down my life for them today. But I know that there are times I don’t show them the love I have for them.

Children are going to be children, they are not going to mind, they are going to talk back, they are going to misbehave, but I do not have to lose my cool the way I do. I spank, and scream, and cuss, and pop them, and sometimes, I forget to love. I’m not saying all these punishments are wrong, what I am saying is wrong is my quickness to resort to these. Why does my child have to be punished for my lack of patience.

When I see my child flinch, that breaks a part of me so deep inside, my child, my babygirl, should not be afraid of me.

I expect perfection and yet I know there is no perfect, why would a 4 year old be so robotic in her thoughts and words and actions as to not upset her mom. She shouldn’t be, she’s a child. I was a child too once.

I remember a few years ago, my own mother called me a nazi. I of course argued that I wasn’t that bad. But deep down, I knew there was some truth to it. I was hard on the kids, I do expect too much, I do scream when I could instead talk, I do react without thinking and regret it later.

Years ago,  I’d picked up my daughter from daycare, got in the car and she immediately started whining and crying, I can’t even remember why now. I called my own my mom crying, why were the drives home like this every night. And she said something I have never forgot, “she’s been at school for almost 9 hours, she’s tired, she’s hungry, things haven’t gone the way she wanted, in her own little mind, she’s stressed out too.” A light bulb went off, we were both tired, we were both hungry, we were both ready to be home, but at her age, limited vocabulary, and mind of a toddler, she didn’t know how to express this. Heck it’s taken me almost 30 years to learn to express myself to this extent. So I dried my eyes and talked to her.

I’ve failed at this so many times since this conversation years ago, but those words have stayed with me. I often question myself why I expect so much from them. Why do I lose it so easily? And sadly, the majority of the time it’s because they’re inconveniencing me. Talking when I want silence. Not hurrying when I’m in a hurry. Not minding. Isn’t part of my role as a parent to put my own needs and wants and life aside for my child. And I have and I do. But I can do better.

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Would you like to keep up with the rest of the 31 posts, every post will be linked here for your convenience.

A Better Wife: Listening

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I remember years ago a book was published, Women are from Venus, Men are from Mars. I think it was even a New York Times best seller. And I think none of us needed a book to tell us how different men and women are.

My husband and I are so different, we very well could be from two different planets. But then again, we kind of were. I was born and raised on the west coast. He was born and raised in Texas. City girl and country guy. Even our families and upbringings were complete opposites. There is no right or wrong, together, we can be something stronger.

My husband’s upbringing was as stereotypical southern as you could imagine. Yes ma’am, yes sir, star football player, star baseball player, born and raised his entire life in less than a 20 mile radius, father who ruled the roost with an iron fist, fishing in the spring and summer, hunting in the fall and winter.

My upbringing was so different, growing up in several suburbs of large west coast towns. Always in subdivisions. No major sports, never truly needed for anything, we were subject to corporate America and there was a lot of commuting, but it all worked in the end.

In his home, there was little communication about feelings, whether good or bad. In mine, we were lovers, huggers, talkers, even if it was screaming. Having grown up the ways we did, we both naturally took on both mentalities.

I think every generation strives to do better than their parents’ generation, not because they did it wrong, but because we want to do better. We both want to be more and do more. But we both still struggle.

My husband struggles with opening up. When for so long, he instinctively kept things to himself, it has taken time for him to get used to the idea that he had a partner, a team mate, who wanted to know it all. I care and want to know if he’s had a good day or bad day. He’s my husband and I care.

I’ve always talked, heck sometimes too much. But it’s in my nature, when there’s something good to be shared, I’m bursting at the seams to share it. When there’s a disagreement, I want to talk it out and solve it now. I say I love you and I’m sorry way too much and silence can make me uncomfortable.

Coming from such different viewpoints on pretty much everything has taken us time to find our middle, where we can meet and each of be comfortable.

Because I’ve spent so much time talking, my listening skills haven’t always been the best, and my husband has never wanted anything more than a listener. So I’ve learned to shut my mouth sometimes, let the silence smooth over, to give him time to process his day, to process his feelings, to feel the need to share. And when he shares, I listen. And I truly take it all in, even when it’s about things that I have no clue about, I listen.

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Men and women are different, we’ve all seen the scenes where a woman is just steadily talking away and a man is just nodding his head. I think about 90% of the time, women just want to talk, sometimes we even know no one is listening. But my husband and I’m sure many other men, they don’t just want to talk, they want to be heard. So my job is to listen. To let him know that when he speaks, it’s important to me.

 

Would you like to keep up with the rest of the 31 posts, every post will be linked here for your convenience.

A Better Me: Speaking Kindness

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For a long time, I’ve known that I wasn’t the nicest person. In fact, there have been times I was rather proud of this fact. I knew I was a capital B. But I also knew that I could be a good person, I could be selfless, I could be a kind loving person. Unfortunately, I found it was easy to speak unkind words, it was easy to make fun of someone, it was easy to make a joke at another’s expense. It was easy to be hateful.

What isn’t easy is to be a kind, loving, forgiving person…to everyone, no matter what!

I’ve thought about this a lot, I’ve wondered how many people I have hurt or upset with my words. I’ve thought about if I’d like everyone to see and hear first hand all the rude things I said. I wasn’t proud of that part of me. Why was it easier for me to be unkind? Was it because that’s how I felt about myself? Was I so unhappy with myself that I was projecting those feelings onto others? That’s a hard pill to swallow.

Many many times in life, when I’ve been faced with completely hurtful disgraceful situations, I have said, “they’ll have to answer for everything one day.” Well I guess I overlooked some of the things I’ll have to answer for too. Overall, I am a good person, and I told myself that I could answer for everything, but could I really?

A few weeks ago I told myself that before I spoke an unkind word, I needed to stop myself and think of something kind to say first. And I’m going to be honest with yall, it hasn’t been easy. A lot of my unkind words came from places that I was forced to face. I was judging people. I was being hateful.

I know I am not alone in this, but I will only speak for myself. When I was faced with hurtful situations, situations where my feelings were hurt, when others said or did things that hurt me, I retaliated. I found fault in them, I let my tongue throw daggers. I was doing exactly as they had done to me.

When I was faced with people and situations that were different than myself or how I would do things, instead of coming from a place of understanding and acceptance, I judged, I found fault, and I spoke those hurtful words.

But I know that deep down inside, I want to be a bigger and better person.

I am not the most religious person, but have a deep sense of right and wrong, what God would want me to be and do, and what I know He would not want. I know I was not acting in a way that God would want and I knew that if I had to answer for all these words, I would have a hard time explaining why. I had to change.

I think it takes great strength to overlook our natural reactions, but I was going to try and I still am today. To be the bigger and better person I wanted to be, I had to find good in everything. I had to only speak if it was kind and sincere.

 

Would you like to keep up with the rest of the 31 posts, every post will be linked here for your convenience.

Made anew

I feel the seasons changing, figuratively and metaphorically. This blog will be taking a new road to follow where my life leads. I’ve deleted the majority of the posts except the recipes, I’ve erased some content and stories from the remaining posts, I’ve changed the name also. But I’m still the same, but maybe I’m not the same at all. I can’t call it a quarter life crisis as I think that happened years ago, and I think its far too early for a mid life crisis. Maybe an awakening is a good term. I’ve always been insightful? I think that’s a profound word for a thinker. Call it over thinking if you may, heck sometimes during this life I’ve proven to not think at all, but generally I’ve over thought everything. But far too often, I’ve spent so much time thinking of ideas and ideals, and then washed them away. For I’d say the past year, I can see where I was grasping at things, at ideas, at goals, at who I am, who I want to be, at who I’ve been. And it hasn’t been easy.

YOUR LIFE

Realizing that you’re someone you never thought you’d be, is a good thing, but it also allows you to see that you can be more. If I can be me, who frankly I’m pretty proud of, than why can’t I be even better? I can, but it was going to require some work. I think we all grow up, at least I hope we all do at some point and time. Growing up sometimes entails wrong decisions, time spent going down the wrong path, mistakes, but at some point and time in life, a switch flips, a road veers, we become who we’re supposed to be. My change happened years ago and looking back now, I still am left in wonder. I didn’t know it was happening, but I know without a shadow of doubt that I’m who I’m supposed to be, I am not the same person I was years ago. But to think that we quit changing, quit growing, quit learning, is naive. I think that’s why I was grasping so much in the last year, I was questioning within myself who I am now. What kind of woman am I? What kind of wife and mother am I? What kind of friend am I? When I sat back and thought, really examined, those questions, I saw that although I like me, I could do more and give myself more.

I’ve decided that this outlet, this blog may very well be the place I truly need. For a while I used it to post recipes and some thoughts and things I was proud of, but it was so shiny, so glossy, so…superficial? Sure all those thoughts were real, yes I truly do love my husband, yes I really do cook dinner most nights, but where was the nitty gritty? Not here that’s for sure. Blogging, writing my thoughts and prayers and goals, is not easy, but it’s healthy, it’s healing. To motivate myself, I’ve decided to join thousands of other bloggers on the 31 Day Challenge. I’ll be speaking about this more later, but just briefly a few weeks ago, my eyes were opened because of a medical issue that although I am fine right now, my life could of ended numerous times over the last year, that thought changed something in me and starting October 1st, I’ll be writing for 31 days about becoming a better me. Please join me, re-examine yourself if needed, help me grow, it will be fun, and hard, but we’ll all be better because of it.

I’ve also decided that instead of a food blog, I’m going to focus more on the “lifestyle” spectrum. There is more to my life than my cooking, I would like to share those parts too.

Thank you for those that will be sticking around and welcome to all you just now finding me.

Brownie Pie

Did I tell you my husband doesn’t like brownies? I know! Crazy!!! I don’t understand it. BUT that doesn’t stop me from making brownies. Or brownie pie! It just means I have to eat the entire pan, darn! This past Sunday, a family dinner quickly added up to 8 people and I knew I needed a dessert.

I already had pie crust in the refrigerator and the rest of the ingredient were in the cabinets, so I went ahead and made 2 of these. BUT only one was ate…DARN. So I’ve been slicing slivers out of the second one all week. Add some ice cream, whipped cream, strawberries, ooo..some caramel…Yes sirree!

Brownie Pie | Hope and Wyatt

Brownie Pie

Makes 1 8 or 9 inch pie

1 pie crust for 8 or 9 inch pie plate, homemade or store bought

1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 c.)

2 1 oz. semisweet bakers chocolate squares

1 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons all purpose flour

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of baking powder

2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a microwavable dish, melt the butter and chocolate. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until melted. Whisk in the sugar, flour, vanilla, and baking powder. One at a time, whisk in the eggs.

Place the pie crust into a pie plate, crimping around the edges, then pour the chocolate mixture into pie crust. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Hope yall have a fabulous weekend. Check back in tomorrow for Saturday Night Share.

I’ve linked this post with some of my favorite weekly go to’s for recipes and ideas, The Weekly Potluck, Mandy’s Recipe Box’s “Totally Tasty Tuesdays!”, and Buns in My Oven.

Smothered Pork Chops

I like Sundays, wait, no I LOVE Sundays. Monday thru Friday seem to go by so fast, it’s rush rush rush rush. God help me when we start having activities and practice and homework. Saturday seems to be an extension of the week though, grocery shopping, cleaning, working outside, there’s always chores to be done. And then Sunday rolls around.

Did I mention I love Sunday? It’s typically our lazy day, we’ll order a movie, lay around all day, take naps, and I always cook a bigger dinner. These pork chops are one of our favorite Sunday night dinners, they’re easy, I don’t have to spend hours at the stove, I typically have all the ingredients in house, and the whole family loves them.

Smothered Pork Chops | Feeding This Family

Smothered Pork Chops
Serves 4-6

4 thicker pork chops or 8 thin pork chops, boneless
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning or other Cajun/Creole seasoning
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, separated
1 large onion, cut in half then thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 heaping tablespoon all purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
Black pepper

In a small bowl, mix the Garlic Powder and Cajun seasoning. Sprinkle seasoning mixture onto both side of the pork chops. This step can be done ahead of time, refrigerate covered until ready to cook.

When ready to cook, on medium high heat, heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a heavy bottomed pan then cook the pork chops in batches, 2 to 5 minutes per side. You will not be cooking the pork chops through, just searing them. Place the seared pork chops on a plate.

Once all the pork chops are seared, add the additional tablespoon of vegetable oil to the pan then add the onions. Lower the heat to medium and sauté the onions until caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and garlic and cook for 2 more minutes before adding the chicken broth. Once the broth is added, begin scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze it and get the good bits off the bottom. Add a good sprinkle of black pepper and allow to simmer on low for 10 minutes. Add the pork chops and juices back to the gravy and cover and continue simmering for 15-30 minutes until gravy has thickened.

Serve over rice.

I’ve linked this post with some of my favorite weekly go to’s for recipes and ideas, The Weekly Potluck, Mandy’s Recipe Box’s “Totally Tasty Tuesdays!”, and Buns in My Oven.

Does your family do Sunday dinner? What are some of your family’s favorites?

Enchilada Casserole

We’re not in tip top shape around here, allergies and fall colds, is there such a thing? There must be. I feel like every time the temperature changes people end up sick. We went from high 90’s into the 100’s to 50’s in one night.

I do love the cooler temperatures though, I’ve decorated for Halloween and Fall already, replaced all the candles with Fall scents, made a pot of Gumbo this past Sunday…I’m ready for Fall and Winter, I guess our bodies aren’t quite ready yet.

I decided to share one of our favorite recipes today, it’s easy, weeknight or weekend meal, everyone I know eats this and loves it. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Enchilada Casserole | Hope and Wyatt

Enchilada Casserole

1 large onion, chopped
1 lb. ground beef
2 1/2 tablespoons Taco Seasoning (recipe follows) or 1 packet of taco seasoning
1 10 oz. can red enchilada sauce (I always use Old El Paso Mild)
1 15.25 oz. can corn, drained
9 corn tortillas, cut in half
1 3/4 cup shredded cheese
1/2 cup water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8×11.5 inch baking dish with non stick spray.

In a heavy bottomed pot, brown the ground beef and onion together. When no longer pink, season with seasoning mixture and if you’re like me, use a potato masher to mash the meat into smaller more uniform pieces. If you use a higher percentage fat ground beef, you may need to drain the meat.

Add the enchilada sauce and drained corn to the beef and allow to simmer until most of the enchilada sauce had thickened.

Using half corn tortillas, arrange them in the bottom of the casserole pan, covering the bottom. Then spoon half the meat mixture on top, followed by half the cheese. Add the remaining half corn tortillas, covering the precious layer. Add the remaining meat. Being sure to reach the edges, drizzle the water over the meat. Cover with remaining cheese.

Bake for 25-35 minutes, until bubbly. Allow to cool 10-15 minutes.

Taco Seasoning

I normally double, triple or quadruple this recipe and keep in a covered mason jar on the counter.

1 tablespoon Chili Powder (sometimes I do half regular Chili Powder and half Ancho Chili Powder)
1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/4 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Dried Oregano
1/2 teaspoon Paprika (sometimes I use Smoked Paprika)
1 1/2 teaspoons Ground Cumin
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Black Pepper

I’ve linked this post with some of my favorite weekly go to’s for recipes and ideas, The Weekly PotluckMandy’s Recipe Box’s “Totally Tasty Tuesdays!”, and Buns in My Oven.

Do you have a favorite weeknight meal that everyone is sure to love? Please share with me!

Chicken Spaghetti

Chicken Spaghetti | Hope and Wyatt

Chicken Spaghetti

Feeds 8-12

3 chicken breasts

Chicken bouillon

1 1 lb. box of thin spaghetti, broken into pieces

2 cans Cream of Mushroom soup ( I use the 98% fat free)

1 can Rotel

1 small onion, finely chopped

3 cups grated Cheddar cheese, divided

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Non stick spray

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Fill a large pot with water, season with the Chicken Bouillon and bring to a boil. Simmer the chicken breasts until cooked through. Remove the chicken breast. Keep the chicken broth.

Allow the chicken breast to cool and shred or cube. Bring the chicken broth back to a boil and cook the spaghetti noodles in the broth. When the noodles are done, before draining, keep a cup of the broth. Drain noodles.

In a large bowl, combine the chicken, onion,  cream of mushroom soup, Rotel, 2 cups of the cheese and seasonings. Once combined, add in the noodles. The reserved broth can be used to thin the noodle mixture out if needed, I typically use about 1/2 a cup of the broth. Spray a large casserole dish with non-stick spray and add the mixture to the dish. Top with remaining 1 cup of cheese.

Bake for 45 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Check at 30 minutes, may need to cover the last 15 minutes so the top doesn’t get too crisp.

Allow to cool for 15 minutes. Serve with a salad or green vegetable and garlic bread

This recipe can be made ahead, prepare, cover and freeze. Can we thawed and baked like normal.

Chicken Spaghetti | Feeding This Family

I’ve linked this post with some of my favorite weekly go to’s for recipes and ideas, The Weekly PotluckMandy’s Recipe Box’s “Totally Tasty Tuesdays!”, and Buns in My Oven.

Banana Bread

Banana Bread | Feeding This Family

Banana Bread

Recipe makes 1 full size loaf

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

5 overripe bananas, mashed

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup cooking oil, melted butter or margarine

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup toasted chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease the bottom and sides of a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the mashed bananas, eggs, sugar, oil (or butter/margarine), and vanilla. Add banana mixture to the flour mixture all at once and stir until just combined, the mixture will be lumpy. Fold in the nuts if using. Spoon batter in pan and bake for 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Check at 45 minutes and cover with foil if needed to prevent over browning. Cool in pan for 15 minutes then remove from pan and cool on wire rack.

I’ve linked this post with some of my favorite weekly go to’s for recipes and ideas, The Weekly PotluckMandy’s Recipe Box’s “Totally Tasty Tuesdays!”, and Buns in My Oven.

Barbeque Chicken Salad

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If you made the Southwest Wraps or if your refrigerator and cabinets are like mine, most of these items will be already in your house.
Barbeque Chicken Salad
Serves 4

1 chicken breast
Barbeque rub, homemade or store bought
2 romaine hearts, washed and chopped
Leftover canned corn, drained
Leftover canned black beans, rinsed and drained
Chopped cilantro
Leftover tortilla chip crumbs
Additional salad ingredients (or any almost empty anything from the refrigerator or cabinets)
1/2 c. Ranch salad dressing
1/2 T. bottled barbeque sauce

Slicing along the length of the chicken breast, slice into 1 inch width pieces. Sprinkle chicken breast pieces with rub and allow to rest, this can be done hours before. Using a hot grill pan or outdoor grill, grill chicken breast pieces on both sides until cooked thoroughly.

While the chicken is cooking, combine salad ingredients in either a large bowl or into each plate. Romaine lettuce, corn, black beans, red bell pepper, jicama, pepper jack cheese, we have used all these and taste wonderful with the salad.

Once chicken is cooked, allow to cool. You can make the dressing at this time, if your bottle of ranch dressing is almost empty you can make the dressing in the bottle, simply add the barbeque sauce to the bottle and shake or you can combine the Ranch and barbeque sauce in a bowl.

Slice cooled chicken into thin slices and combine with salad ingredients and toss with the dressing.

I’ve linked this post with some of my favorite weekly go to’s for recipes and ideas, The Weekly PotluckMandy’s Recipe Box’s “Totally Tasty Tuesdays!”, and Buns in My Oven.