To be (not) Needed

I don’t think I have anything profound or new to say today. It’s something every mom probably feels. But sometimes stating the obvious can help others know they are not alone. That what they are feeling is okay to feel. That their life is normal, still hard, but normal.

So here is goes, my statement of today: I just don’t want to be needed.

This might sound crazy, but hang with me. I know that ultimately it’s nice (maybe necessary) to be needed, but right now I would just like a little break from being needed SO much.

Seth and Bridget are both at a stage right now where I am, for the most part, their entire world. This may sound sweet, but right now it’s exhausting. I mean, it’s just seems like it is going to be too much to handle. I feel like I can’t keep up this pace of the intensity of the needs that they have for me. From Bridget continuing to breastfeed every two to three hours, to Seth being kind of an emotional wreck. From the demands of  diapers, meals, clothes, laundry, entertainment, hygiene. To the roles of playmate, teacher, trainer,  comforter, listener. All of this just seems a bit overwhelming.

I wish I was not so needed.

But maybe this is a selfish wish. Maybe its me wanted to be able to do what I want to do when I want to do it. Maybe I really am not that much unlike the toddlers that needs me so much.

Yes, there are things we need to adjust so that I am not quite to worn out. But maybe I also need to change my perspective. Maybe I’m focusing too much on the weight of all this mommy-hood and not remembering the joy and honor.

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At Family Date at the ANG, Charlotte NC 

Yes, the days are long and sometime just down right miserable. Yes, at the end (and in the middle and sometimes in the beginning) my eyes are tired and my mind is shot. But there are two little people napping right now (thank GOD!) who have been given to me. They are a gift. God has trusted them to me. Even writing that gives me chills. He has trusted them to Ian and me. He has perfectly created our family with all our craziness to be for His glory.

This is what I need to remember.

 

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Recipe Round-up

What did you have this week?

Meatless Monday: Crock Pot Lentil Soup…Yum! This one was surprisingly delicious and I would definitely make it again. I loved it because although meatless, the lentils add so much protein. This kids liked it and so did Ian. Score!

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Tuesday: Meatloaf with Mushroom Gravy. When I was younger, I thought meatloaf was disgusting. It was my Mom’s favorite food, but she never got to make it because we refused to eat it. Well, Mom you were right. Meatloaf is so good and this recipe was a winner! I served it with garlic mashed potatoes and sauted kale. I didn’t make the double portion to put in the freezer because I wanted to see if we would like it first, but I definitively will next time. Also instead of bread crumbs I used ground up oatmeal, totally your call on that. I just like oatmeal in my meatloaf.

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Wednesday: Corn and Zucchini Chowder. I love soups because you can put so many vegetables in one dish. This chowder is no exception. Bridget loves to eat all the veggies and since they are so soft, its a great way to introduce her to them without too much extra work.  (I don’t have a picture of the final “product,” but here is a look at all the veggies).

Thursday: Slow Cooker Pork and Cabbage. I was a little skeptical of this because it was so simple and not many ingredient so I thought it might be blane. However, it turned out really good. We served it over rice with a side of cooked carrots. It was simple, but in a good way.

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Those are my recipes from the week. Friday night ended up being a pizza and movie night, since it was a dark and rainy day with sick kids and Saturday was fish. Nothing to write home about in that one. I need to increase my fish recipes. I want to eat it more, but lack inspiration. Any ideas?

Applesauce, the Sign of Autumn

Nothing say fall is finally here to me like applesauce. I know pumpkin is all the rage these days, but applesauce and I go a long way back and I am sticking with my loyal friend.

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Ever since I can remember my mom would buy apple “seconds” and make them into delicious homemade applesauce. Days on end she would wash, cut, cook, spin and freeze bag after bag of the yummy stuff. I loved it warm, right after it was spun, I loved it frozen with icy chunks, I loved it…well, pretty much any way we had it. It was always a sad day when we would eat the last bag of the homemade kind and had to switch over to the store bought. But fall would roll around again and with it applesauce!

I have continued this tradition. Each year, I have made applesauce. I love the way it makes my home smell. If you have never tried this, you are missing out. Do so, and without delay 🙂

It’s really not that hard.

I start with “seconds” of apples. They are the ones that are not pretty enough to sell at full price, but for the job of applesauce they work perfectly and are usually sold at a discount (some places call them utility apples). I like to use a variety of kinds. I feel like it makes a better sauce, so whatever the farm has I take.

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Next I wash, cut and core the apples. No peeling required. They then go into a large pot. I have my Grandma’s old applesauce pot and I love that I get to use it as I remember my Mom using it when I was little. I usually add a little water to the bottom of the pot to help prevent the apples from burning.

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Over low heat, I cook the apples until they are super soft, stirring occasionally. This can take a few hours, it all depends on the apples. They will look a bit un-appetizing right now, but fear not, the next step will solve this problem.

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Next, using a food mill, spin the applesauce. This separates the peels from the sauce. And there you have it, homemade goodness! The final applesauce can be enjoyed right away, canned or put into freezer bags. This time I canned the batch I made. A bit more work then just throwing into freezer bags, but when you have a large canning pot, you kinda just want to use it 😉

Now, you could throw way the pulp, but I like to save it, process it in my food processor until it is smoother and make apple bread out of it (I share that recipe soon). So save those not-so-pretty peels and you’ll be glad you did once you make that bread!

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Kinda ugly, but still can be put to good use.

 

 

 

 

Meals…planning them out

Do you meal plan?

I do. Well, I try to. As in all areas of life, meal planning has to be flexible. On most Sundays though, I sit down and work out a rough plan of what our meals for the week will be. For me this helps in many ways: less stress about what to make at the end of a day, healthier eating because I’ve had a chance to think it through, lower grocery bills since there are fewer trips to the store (in theory). And, honestly, I enjoy it!

But, I know there are some out there who don’t enjoy this process (“hi Mom”). So I thought instead of just sharing a few random recipes each month, I would post simple pictures and links (or recipe if I “invented it” to the meals I made last week, in hopes it may help some pooped meal planner out there 🙂

Here what we had last week:

Meatless Monday: I have been trying to do one meatless meal a week. Here’s what we had this past week. It was good, especially the toasted chickpeas on top! I found the recipe here: Butternut Cauliflower Coconut Curry

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Deconstructed Stuffed Peppers: This is one I made up as I went. I love the flavors of stuffed pepper, but they can sometimes be awkward to eat. So I made it in a 9×13 instead, all the flavor, none of the awkwardness! Even my picky eaters liked this one.

1 cup millet (or rice)

2 cups vegetable (or chicken) stock

16 oz sausage (any kind)

1/2 cup water

1 onion, diced

1 cup mushrooms, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 large green pepper, sliced in rings

1 16 oz can diced tomatoes

Cook millet or rice in stock according to package directions. In a medium skillet, brown sausage for about 5 minutes, turning frequently. Add 1/2 cup water and cover and simmer on medium low for about 12 minutes. Remove sausage and let rest. Reserve cooking liquid. In the same skillet, saute onions and mushrooms in a little oil, until soften. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute.

In a greased 9 x 13 pan, layer millet (rice) and top with vegetables. Pour reserved liquid. Slice sausage and layer on top of millet and vegetables. Top with peppers and diced tomato. Cover and cook at 375 for 30 minutes or until heated through and peppers are soft.

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White Chili Wednesday: I love white chili! And this recipe is super easy. Put it all in the the morning and enjoy for dinner. This recipe was adapted from Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili 

This recipe did not call for any beans (?????) so I added three cans of white beans. I also just used the peppers I had on had (from a friend’s garden). This one was another one that Seth loved, although the sour cream and chips may have helped 😉

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Thursday: So, I am going to be honest here…this meal did not come out as I hoped. I had bought steaks and was excited about them, however they were kinda eh. Major bummer. But I did enjoy the mashed sweet potatoes. They were simply pealed, diced and boiled in salted water (don’t skip that part) with some smashed garlic until soft and them mashed with a little coconut milk. The sauted greens were also yummy. I did these with garlic, coconut oil and a little soy sauce. Lesson learned, leave the steak cooking to my friend Jessy. She’s better at it.

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That’s it for meals this week. Friday night was leftovers and we were out of town Saturday, so we enjoyed Brixx Pizza (my all time favorite place to eat!)

I hope this inspires you as you plan your dinner this week. Happy Sunday!

A Birthday and a Refocus

We survived. We survived the “terrible twos” and lived to tell about it. Literally. That’s what I doing right now.

Seth turned three on the 17th of September and we celebrated with ice cream, presents, friends, family, more ice cream and more presents. If you ask him what he did on his birthday, he will say “I got presents.” Gift giving, definitely his strongest “love language” (see Gary Chapman’s “The Five Love Languages” if you have no idea what I’m referring to).

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Ian joked the night before the big day that all our troubles with Seth were behind us. He was leaving behind those terrible twos and growing up. He was going to be three…

Well, he’s been three for 13 days and I can say…the terrible has turned into, well, rather shocking and frightful. It’s been an roller coaster for us the past few day. Sometimes I feel like I have an emotional teenage in the house (running away sobbing over anything going wrong), sometimes a wild animal, sometimes a NFL football player practicing for the big game (often pretending his sister is the opposing team).

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He may be difficult right now, but I love him!!! 

This motherhood is tough y’all.

I know there are many “mommy blogs” out there and today I was thinking, I’m not going to write anything. Who needs one more blog post about how hard our job is?

But the truth is, it is. It’s crazy hard. I called my husband one day this week for support before he had even made it to work. He’d been gone about 15 minutes, and I was like “Heeeeelllp!” I took a shower this afternoon only to find a torn up dirty (very dirty, if you know what I mean) diaper under my coffee table on the white rug. I guess the dog couldn’t resist. I clean up toys and clean up toys and clean up toys and clean up toys. There were small ants all over our bathroom. Bridget is waking up 2-3 times every night now. Seth is, well I kinda already mentioned that.

So where’s the hope? Where’s the joy? Right now, this tired mama has a hard time finding it in all the mess. But that does not mean it’s not there. In the midst of all this craziness, it’s there. Because my hope and joy does not come from how my house looks, how my kids (and dog) behaves, how much sleep I get or don’t get, or any of the things that scream (sometimes literally) for my attention.

On days, or weeks, like this, I’ve got to remember “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence come my help. My help come from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.” Psalm 12:1-2. 

Where are my eyes on the days that are so hard? Am I staring at the mountain of laundry or looking into the face of my Lord who promises to move any mountain I face. He’s a big God and He can handle all that I can’t. He’s going to give me the grace to deal with a three-year-old that has me completely at a lost. He can give me the strength to keep being the mommy that He has called me to be. Not the mommy the world demands of me or I demand of myself. So I going to try and look more to Him.

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Family photo on Seth’s bday. Seth is holding a bat that has a bunch of balloons tied to it 🙂

Funny thing is, I started this post as a one that was going to detail all the troubles I’ve been having. But instead, I am ending it with a God-focus. And you know what? I feel better. The afternoon may not flow smoothly, but I am thankful for the time I did get to refocus and remember “whence come my help.”

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When you need a little chocolate

hello again! I am starting, mind you ever so slowly, to pull my head from the sand. No, I have not been to the beach. I have just felt like I’ve had my head in the sand and not connected with the rest of the world with all the moving and sickness going on.

We are moved and bit by bit settling in and making it “home.” I hope to get back into a routine, for my kids sanity as well as my own!

Yesterday, after I just couldn’t bring myself to unpack one more box, I decided to bake. Our kitchen did not have any appliances in it, so we had to go out and buy new/used ones. The oven was a floor model and never had been used. I thought it would be appropriate to make something chocolate as the first ever thing baked in it.

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Since my baking supplies and energy were limited, I settled on a simple dark chocolate bread (well, it’s really a cake).  It is very dark and very yummy, especially with warm strawberries on top, which is how we had it last night. To make it perfect, we really needed some whipped cream…maybe we do that next time.

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This afternoon, while Bridget was not napping, I needed a little pick-me-up and enjoyed some plain with a cup of coffee. Simple and not overly sweet.

I feel like this is the kind of cake you can use as a canvas for endless toppings: fudge, ice cream, fruit, caramel, you get the idea. Happy baking!

Dark Chocolate Bread

½ cup butter, at room temperature

¾ cup sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 tsp vanilla

1 Tbsp instant coffee

¼ cup sour cream

¼ cup milk

1 cup plus 2 Tbsp flour

½ cup dark cocoa powder

½ tsp salt

½ tsp baking soda

 

Preheat oven to 325. Lightly grease a 9×5 loaf pan.

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla and instant coffee.

In a small bowl, whisk together sour cream and milk.  Sift together dry ingredients.

Alternate adding dry and wet ingredients to the butter mixture, beginning and ending with dry. Do not over mix.

Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Cool and enjoy plain or topping of choice.

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Home?!?

Sometimes life changes gradually and you never even realize it’s happening. Sometimes change is quick and sweeping. Like, getting married or having a baby. On your wedding day you wake up single. By the end of the day you’re a wife! Same with a baby. This is especially true when it’s your first. You wake up one day and then so quickly (although it may not seem quick, but it the grand scheme of life it’s a pretty short amount of time) your a mother. Forever. You can’t ever not be one again. Even on the days when you just want to hide in the closet.

Hide in a closet. Kind of a specific example, right. Well, that was what I felt like today. I was expressing to my mom over the phone that I wanted to find a quite spot and hide for a time. Seth overheard this and informed me that he would come and hide with me. There goes the idea of quite. His cute and matter-of-fact way of stating this helped to calm me a bit.

Just a bit though. Speaking of life changes, we are in the middle of a big one right now.

While on a road trip a few weeks back, Ian and I started talking about the possibility of staying right here in central North Carolina. This was not something we were really considering much before this. We were looking for some kind of big move or change. But the more we talked the more peace and assurance we felt that this was what God had for us.

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So about 2 weeks ago, I started looking at houses. Just to see what was out there. We spent the past week or so finding houses online and doing drive-by’s. We had found a few that we liked but to our dismay either the area was super sketchy or there was a moving van out front with people moving in, or it was just too far from work or church or just too, well, not us.

On Saturday I found a house online that looked really neat. We drove by. We still liked it. We call our realtor to schedule a showing. We went and saw it on Sunday. We still liked it. We put in an offer. They accepted. Wait…what!?!

We are now in the process of buying a house. There are still many steps to complete and for anyone who’s bought a house, you know, at any point this could all fall through. But we are moving forward and I am excited, overwhelmed, happy and…overwhelmed. I’ve got my calendar out, planning mode in full swing. I will be packing up our entire house again for the third time in less than 2 years.  There are many “to-do’s” to get down.

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But once this is over, we will have a home. Our home. And I am very much looking forward to that!

I may need to find that closet at some point. Just for a bit. And if Seth promises to be quite, I may let him hide with me, just kidding.

I am going to take it one step at a time. I am going to remember Psalm 46: 1-4

God is our refuge and strength,
    a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
    though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
    though the mountains tremble at its swelling.

He’s my “present help” and there are no mountains falling, so if He can handle that, He can handle our move and I will find hope and strength in Him.

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